The state's public universities and colleges will waive tuition and fees for spouses and children of fallen soldiers, under a measure signed...

OLYMPIA — The state’s public universities and colleges will waive tuition and fees for spouses and children of fallen soldiers, under a measure signed into law Monday.

“Helping these children and spouses succeed in education is the least we could do,” Gov. Christine Gregoire said before signing the bill.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla, takes effect in July. It will cover spouses and children of active-duty and National Guard members killed, disabled, captured or missing in action.

After losing so much, “this will ensure they can move forward and get an education,” Hewitt said.

The bill unanimously passed the House and Senate.

Washington’s colleges and universities already had the option of waiving all or part of tuition and fees for the survivors of eligible veterans or National Guard members.