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By Kathryn Wing
February 5, 2014
Caption : The House passed legislation Monday that requires public universities to charge veterans on the Post-9/11 GI Bill in-state tuition rates regardless of the veteran’s past state residency.     

This Monday marked a hopeful change in tuition costs for veterans attending college on the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The House unanimously passed legislation that requires public universities to charge veterans in-state tuition rates regardless of the veteran’s past state residency.

If the university fails to comply, it will face a financial penalty.

The change came to the House after veterans returning from service sometimes moved to a new state. Due to their lack of residency status, some veterans faced higher out-of-state tuition costs. Although the Post 9/11 GI Bill covers most if not all of a veteran’s tuition at public institutions, it is capped at $17,500 —a figure well below the average out-of-state tuition rate of $21,706.   

“There are many veterans through no fault of their own who are forced to pay exorbitant tuition rates to schools simply because of the transit nature of their military service,” Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Representative Jeff Miller (R-FL) said.

Prior to the passing of this bill, 20 states already granted veterans in-state tuition and eight others offered in-state tuition for former service members. Although the House overwhelmingly supported the bill with a vote of 390-0, some pushback was felt such as the American Association of State Colleges and Universities argument that tuition policy is a state’s right.

Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) noted that veterans must “uproot their families and periodically move around the country” while in the military, which can make it much harder for them to establish residency.

Veterans’ service organizations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), have pushed strongly for the legislation. In addition to lower college costs for veterans, the Bill is estimated to affect about 3,800 veterans initially and save the federal government about $139 million over the next decade.

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