More Illinois families will benefit from a scholarship program to help children of fallen veterans get a college education, under the leadership of State Rep. Mike Halpin.

Halpin, D-Rock Island, led the push in the Illinois House this spring for Senate Bill 3762, which has been signed into Illinois state law, according to a Tuesday release.

The legislation allows legally adopted dependent children under the age of 18 when they were adopted, and step-children under the age of 18 at the time of marriage to be eligible for the MIA/POW Scholarship.

The scholarship program covers tuition costs for education at state universities and public community colleges. It includes the cost of schooling equal to four years, including summer semesters, and can be used for application feeds, placement and proficiency exam fees, term fees, and graduation fees.

Halpin said the change is a common-sense improvement to a great program that shows Illinoisans appreciate the sacrifices made by veterans and their families.

“The pain of losing a loved one on the battlefield is unimaginable, and it’s our obligation to recognize these families for enduring these hardships by making it as easy as possible for the next generation to pick up the pieces,” he said. “This change will allow more loved ones to have the support they need to get a college education in remembrance of veterans who died for our freedoms. I hope all Illinois families who qualify will take advantage of this opportunity.”

The law goes into effect immediately. For more on the MIA/POW scholarship program, click HERE.