Veterans Education Residency Legislation

By Debbie Gregory.

One of the most highly regarded perks given for military service is the opportunity to get a great education on Uncle Sam. The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill that pays for a Veteran’s education is an earned benefit, promised in the contractual agreement, signed upon enlistment. While the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill is a great benefit, many servicemembers find that it falls short when out of state tuition fees are applied.  The House Subcommittee on Veteran’s Affairs for Economic Opportunity recently met to determine the fate of Bill H.R. 357, the G.I. Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013.

H.R. 357 would allow eligible Veteran schools that issue Post G.I. education benefits to appropriate in-state tuition rates for student Veterans, despite residency status. The Veteran’s education will be charged the same rate of fees that is required for in-state residents. The bipartisan legislative bill was introduced by Chairman Jeff Miller, and ranking member Mike Michaud.

The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill is the largest investment in Veteran education benefits since World War II. The bill pays the full cost of an undergraduate education at any public college or university.

Veterans who serve 90 aggregate days of active service after September 10, 2001, qualify for the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. Also qualified are those who serve post 9/11 for at least 30 consecutive days of active duty, and receive a discharge for disability.

The Student Veterans of America (SVA) is a non-profit coalition of more than 750 student Veteran organizations on college campuses globally. SVA Executive Director of Michael Dakduk said, “The Post G.I. Bill pays the highest in-state tuition and fees. Due to military obligations, many veterans are unable to establish in-state residency for the purposes of enrolling at a public university or college.” For now, those attending a private school or a public school as a non-resident out-of-state student may benefit from the Yellow Ribbon Program, which could reimburse the difference.

The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill Veteran’s Educational Benefits provide up to 36 months of veteran education benefits that are payable for 15 years following the individual’s release from active duty. H.R. 357 will amend Title 38 of the United States Code, resulting in the Veteran’s education being charged the same rate of fees that is required for in-state residents.

The Veteran’s Education benefits of in-state tuition are contingent on the passage of H.R. 357. Contact Congress and the Senate in a show of support for this bill.