Understanding the Veterans Access, Choice And Accountability Act of 2014 can be quick and easy. Section 702 specifically states:
The Senate amendment would amend section 3679 of title 38, U.S.C., by adding a new subsection (c) to require VA to disapprove courses of education provided by public institutions of higher learning that charge tuition and fees at more than the in-state resident rate for veterans within three years from discharge from a period of at least 90 days service in the military, irrespective of the veteran’s current state of residence, if the veteran is living in the state in which the institution is located while pursuing that course of education.
Pursuant to subsection (c), this provision would apply to veterans using the educational assistance programs administered by VA under chapters 30 and 33 of title 38, U.S.C., and to dependent beneficiaries using Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits during the three years after the veteran’s discharge. If the veteran or dependent enrolls within three years after the veteran’s discharge, the requirement to charge no more than the in-state tuition rate would apply for the duration the individual remains continuously enrolled at the institution.”
This law was written to help veterans transition from the military to civilian world through higher education and now includes benefits for their spouses and children using the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Previously, public schools were able to charge veterans out-of-state fees if they did not meet in-state requirements. With the passage of the Veterans Access, Choice And Accountability Act of 2014 schools that want to continue to receive Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits must offer veterans in-state tuition or lose those funds.
It can be difficult for veterans and their family to establish in-state residency with the amount of moving the military can require. This bill will now bring relief from these burdens for those planning on taking classes July 2015 or later, as this is the deadline for schools to offer in-state tuition to veterans and their family.
Not all public schools will make this easy however. While they must offer in-state tuition, they can still mandate that you prove your intent to stay in that state and eventually become a resident.
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia for example requires veterans and their family to prove they have established “domicile” in Virginia. This intent to remain in the state can be established by not only physically residing in Virginia but also changing records to the state. The standard one-year wait most civilians are required to prove they have made Virginia their home is waved for veterans and their families. They can begin classes on the next term once their review has been processed.
To take advantage of in-state tuition veterans and their family must begin college courses within 3 years of separation from service. As long as they are enrolled in courses they will be able to continue using this benefit. Again, schools have until July 2015 to offer in-state tuition so be sure to consider this and your timeline for enrollment. Contact the college or university you wish to attend in order to definitively know their policy. Currently, Student Veterans of America has an interactive map outlining state laws and legislation regarding this matter.