Two years ago I wrote an article calling for states to treat student veterans as residents for tuition and fee purposes. Since then a some states, including Virginia and Ohio passed legislation to give veterans a tuition break. But, to this day less than ten states offer “in-state” tuition rates to nonresident veterans.
[To be fair, several states offer tuition waivers or discounts to eligible veterans. Click here to find your state’s education benefits.]
This leads more student debt for veterans, and comes as an unhappy surprise to those who expect to have the GI Bill cover their full tuition. This is because the Post-9/11 GI Bill caps tuition and fee payments at the in-state tuition and fees rate. Since most state schools charge as much as double the tuition for non-resident students, many veterans are forced to cover tuition and fees costs above that cap.
NOTE: Some veterans may be able to use the Yellow Ribbon Program to help cover some of these additional costs. But, not all schools participate in the YRP. In addition the YRP does not always cover the total cost.
If you think about it, servicemembers don’t join to fight for their home state alone; they serve to protect the constitution of the United States. So it only seems right that when they leave the service and go to straight to college, whatever state they settle in should treat them as residents, at least for tuition purposes.
Many states already waive the residency requirements for active-duty servicemembers and their families, but not near as many states do that for veterans.