The Hazlewood Act is one of the great things about being a veteran in Texas. In short it gives vets and their families 150 class hours at any state university in Texas. Thousands of vets take advantage of that every year but there's some concern over the future of the program and state legislators are working to make sure Hazlewood stays alive and well for Texas vets.
Before Paul Theobald was a UT undergrad he served on a ballistic submarine in the Navy. Now he's looking forward to UT law school and the Hazlewood exemption lets him continue his academic journey.
"The Hazlewood enables that to be less of a financial burden so you can focus more on bettering yourself and education," said Theobald.
But there is stress on Hazlewood. In 2011, it provided 75 million in tuition assistance, in 2012 it provided 111 million. With that there has been talk of reducing the number class hours from 150 to 130.
"I'm concerned that number one that people would even think about it. I think there's a lot we can look at before cutting benefits for veterans," said Theobald.
State Senator Leticia Van de Putte is working for a Hazlewood fix.
"We started to hear from universities that since Hazlewood is a state program and they're expected to absorb that they were uncomfortable and it wasn't sustainable. So yes discussion on how to cut back how to reduce," Van de Putte said.
She's offering a bill to use monies from the university "b-on-time" loan program funds to go toward covering growing Hazlewood costs as a way to protect the program.
"Texas made this decision and it's up to us to make sure the universities are made whole...but I don't think we want to start re-tracking on our obligation and what we promised veterans," Van de Putte said.
Van de Putte possible fix would mean that vets like Paul Theobald can stay out of student loan debt, stay in school, and stay in Texas.
"I love Texas and I love the atmosphere, the pride, the environment the people and I wanna stay here and be involved in my community and state," Theobald said.
The Hazlewood Act was passed back in 1919 and has been going strong ever since. Last year 31,237 veterans and their dependents were able to take advantage of Hazlewood.