The Post-9/11 GI Bill is the most comprehensive, most generous education benefit in history…period. However, that does not mean that the benefit is not without its flaws.
Aside from a generous housing allowance (equivalent to E-5 with dependent BAH for the school’s zip code) it covers up to $1,000 per year in a stipend for books and supplies. Additionally the Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay 100% of the cost of in-state tuition prices at all public schools in the country, no matter what that institution’s in-state tuition price is. However, the GI Bill will only pay up to $19,198.31 per academic year for private schools, foreign schools, and out of state tuition.
Thousands of Veterans have found that while they signed up during a time of war to serve their country, many colleges in many states want them to be legal residents of that state in order to receive in-state rates.
Currently, twenty four states offer Veterans in-state tuition prices. These sates include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.
While Alaska, Georgia and Kentucky don’t have any existing legislation, the majority of their schools, including their state university system, do not charge Veterans out of state tuition.
Currently, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and South Carolina have legislation pending that would grant in-state tuition prices to Veterans.
The remaining states don’t have any legislation. However, several schools and systems in these states have their own policies that do not charge Veterans out of state tuition fees.
To put this into perspective: a Veteran from California wishing to attend UCLA using the Post-9/11 GI Bill would have 100% of their tuition paid for. But if a Veteran was from Nevada, and wanted to attend UCLA, they would accrue an estimated yearly out of state tuition of $22,878. The GI Bill will only cover $19,198, leaving the Veteran from Nevada with $3,680 per year in tuition to pay out of pocket.
This should not be acceptable to anyone who supports the men and women who have worn a military uniform. If a Veteran can get accepted into a school and is willing to relocate in order to attend that school, then we, as a country, should give that Veteran the ability to attend their school of choice. Any school in any state that is represented by the 50 stars on the flag they served under should honor their service and welcome them into the fold. Our military knows no borders within the United States, our Veterans’ benefits provided by the federal government shouldn’t either.
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Military Connection: In-State GI Bill Tuition: By Debbie Gregory