Military Connection: Reducing Tuition Costs for Veterans: By Joe Silva

tuition costsThe passing of the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 allots a colossal $16.3 billion for the reformation of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). While most of that money is intended to overhaul the VA’s healthcare system, the legislation also includes measures to lower the cost of college tuitions for Veterans.

A very important measure for Veteran education and the American higher education system was included in the popularly approved legislation. Essentially, section 702 of the legislation prohibits the VA from paying education assistance to colleges and universities that charge Veterans more than in-state tuition rates. Most colleges charge a higher tuition rate to students from out of state. The measure is intended to help military Veterans who are often relocated around the country during their military careers, and don’t always meet eligibility requirements. By making it the VA’s policy to stop paying GI Bill tuition money to schools that charge out-of-state tuition prices to Veterans, the government is forcing schools to comply or forfeit all of their Veteran students.

This is great news for many Veterans, whose service called upon them to serve all states and territories of the country, and not just the states that they are residents of.

This can be a game-changer for the schools. While the law does not make it mandatory for all schools to provide Veterans with the lower tuition rate, it does create an extremely strong incentive for them to comply.

Either way, the schools are losing money. If a school continues charging Veterans the out-of-state rate, they lose the ability to enroll future students into their school who will have their tuitions paid, on time, by the federal government. But if they comply with the law, they will lose the extra money from the additional out of state fees.

The VA says it has doled out more than $20 billion in benefits for 773,000 Veterans and their family members under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, since it became effective in 2009. That’s 773,000 paid tuitions to the colleges, most spanning multiple semesters.

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Military Connection: Reducing Tuition Costs for Veterans: By Joe Silva