Several States Look to Reduce Tuition for Military, Veterans

military_tuition

Colleges and universities around the US are changing their tuition and admission policies in an effort to expand veteran education benefits to comply with a new federal law.

The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, signed by President Barack Obama, requires “public colleges to provide in-state tuition to veterans and eligible dependents in order for the school to remain eligible to receive GI Bill education payments.”

The University System of Maryland Board of Regents is just one school system to vote to amend their admissions and tuition policy to increase veteran benefits for education, writes Talia Richman for The Diamondback.

Veterans and their dependents now qualify for a reduction in tuition if they are “pursuing a course of educational assistance” under a GI Bill, instead of needing to “[produce] evidence of his or her intent to remain permanently in Maryland.”

“The federal government didn’t want to restrict veterans in that way,” said Teri Hollander, the university system associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. “This is about conforming with federal law, and the act is a good one. It’s one small way to pay back veterans for their service.”

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant recently signed a law that will lessen the cost of college tuition for military veterans, their spouses, and their dependents.

Senate Bill 2127 would waive out-of-state tuition for military personnel, including veterans, those in active duty, and the National Guard or Reserve forces who are eligible for federal Veterans Education Benefits.  Those who would benefit from the bill must also live out of state but attend school in Mississippi, or live in the state but not qualify as a resident.

The waiver will apply to all public institutions in the state, covering both traditional and distance learning courses.

“This is just one more way that we can honor veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice,” Gov. Bryant said. “We already know that veterans make outstanding employees, and this measure will help these men and women pursue extra training and education to further their careers. We owe it to them to provide opportunity we can for them to succeed, and I am proud to sign this bill into law.”

The bill passed both the House and Senate in the state in a unanimous vote, and received support from the Mississippi Veterans Affairs Board, reports Renee Johnson for WLOX.

“We sincerely appreciate Governor Bryant’s support and leadership in making sure all our veterans can get the greatest education possible in Mississippi,” said Randy Reeves, executive director of the Mississippi Veterans Affairs Board. “Our leaders in the Legislature made sure this happened with the support of Mississippi’s Institutes of Higher Learning and Community Colleges.”

The law is set to go into effect immediately.