State Veterans Agency Chief Urges Tuition Break for Vets


By Mark Lane

daytona beach – Mike Prendergast, executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, urged members of the Volusia and Flagler county chapters of the Military Officers Association of American to be active on state veterans issues and, in particular, help pass a bill to give in-state tuition breaks to veterans.

Speaking to a group of about a hundred MOAA members at the Halifax River Yacht Club on Thursday, he said he hoped for a new push for the bill in the next legislative session. It had failed to get out of committee last year, but has been refiled for another try next year.
“Going into next March, in-state tuition for all our veterans is our No. 1 priority,” he said.
Twenty-six states currently waive the waiting period for in-state tuition for veterans, according a Senate staff report on the legislation.
Prendergast also told the group of his agency’s frustrations during the recent federal government shutdown.
“We hit a roadblock when we couldn’t pick up the phone and call our federal colleagues,” he said.
As a result of the shutdown, he said, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs lost ground in reducing what was once a two-year backlog in processing claims.
“There were veterans who were concerned about whether or not they would receive their disability compensation checks on the first of November,” he said. And, generally, “a lot fell between the cracks.”



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