Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law last week the Veterans Access, Choice And Accountability Act of 2014. This bill grants veterans and their families the right to in-state tuition at public colleges and universities regardless of where the service or family member is currently living. But only if, they are using GI Bill money.
The law goes into effect July 1, 2015.
Under the current law public schools are not mandated to offer in-state tuition if the veteran does not reside in the school’s state when classes begin. Currently, 24 states already have some form of a state residency waiver for veterans.
Other colleges require veterans to prove their intent on remaining in the state after their education is completed in order to receive in-state tuition. For example University of California, San Diego requires proof of your intent to become a California resident in order to receive in-state tuition. Not only do you need to prove your physical residence, but you must also “demonstrate your intention to make California your home by severing your residential ties with your former state of residence and establishing those ties with California.” You can prove your intent by acquiring a California driver’s license, opening a bank account or showing your housing contract.
Meeting these requirements, while tedious, is well worth it as the tuition difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition is staggering. The University of Alabama, for example, charges in-state students $9,200 in tuition and fees for the 2013-14 year, while the out-of-state students are assessed fees and tuition of $22,950.
Related: 3 Ways to Stretch Your Tuition Dollars
In-state vs. out-of-state tuition for veterans will all change in July 2015 when the new law goes into effect. All public schools will be required to bill veterans and their families at an in-state tuition rate. If the school does not comply, the VA has the right to disapprove their courses.
This bill will not change veterans and families status when applying for school loans and scholarships. The GI Bill is not considered Federal Financial Aid and thus federal loans are still an available option. There are 5 main loans and grants:
- Stafford (subsidized)
- Stafford (unsubsidized)
- Perkins Loan
- Pell Grant
- Federal Student Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
Eligibility for most federal student aid is based on financial need along with several other factors. It is well worth it to look into these options as well as scholarships. MyCAA is a tuition assistance for military spouses for example. It has limitations based on the active duty sponsor’s rank however. It is only open to “spouses of active duty service members in pay grades E1-E5, W1-W2, O1-O2 including the spouses of activated Guard and Reserve members within those ranks.”
There are many scholarship opportunities for military spouses. A second notable one is the National Military Family Association scholarship. This is open to all military spouses regardless of the veteran’s rank.
With the passing of this new bill, financial aid availability and scholarships, military families have more opportunities to make earning a college degree more of a possibility.
How will this bill affect your family? Will you be more likely to earn a college degree?
I am excited about this because it will allow my children to have more choices when it comes to colleges.
Be sure to read the bill first to see if this law will affect you or your family. This article made me think that any veteran and his dependents could attend an out of state school and pay in-state tuition. Click on the link to the bill–it is highlighted above. (scroll to section 76) The bill applies only to dependents who are currently eligible for the Post 911/GI bill and for veterans and dependents who have recently separated, within a 3 year span.
Yep this, and most other articles, are very misleading on this topic. This article makes it sound like I, a recent retiree, can send my kids to college at instate rates.
Yet, the reality is summarized as:
> Only appears to apply to Post 9/11 Ed. assistance
> Only applies to the state in which you are living. For example, if you are a TX resident, yet are living/stationed in GA, then GA can’t charge you out of state tuition fees.
While this is helpful to some, and great for them, it does little for those of us who didn’t get the post 9/11 GI Bill.
It may be somewhat beneficial to junior servicemen and women who lacked existing GI Bill benefits for their own tuition, but this is a hollow “victory” for families. The majority of veterans with college-age family members are beyond the maximum grades of E5, W2, O2.
As I read it, the rank restriction is for MYCAA not the in state tuition benefit.
Bill, that limitation is for the MYCAA program, which is only for spouses, not child dependants.
The limitation applies to “MyCAA,” a tuition assistance for military spouses.
I grew up on a military base in Korea, commissioned in TX, and was stationed in 3 countries during my 5 year term. This bill is perfect for those like me who did not want to stay at their last assignment (in Ohio–no offense, Ohio) and that cannot call their Home of Record, “home”. I’m very thankful for these expanded opportunities to further my education and start my new life where I want to live.
This is great news!!! And just FYI… MyCAA is not open to ALL active duty spouses of those pay grades. Coast Guard spouses are not eligible at all.
As a CG spouse, I look forward to this bill passing!!!
Lynn Pride says
The bill starefers to chapter 30 (100% disabled Vet) or chapter 33 (vocational rehabilitation), so if you do not qualify for chapter 30 or 33, this does not apply to you?
Gail o says
This bill is only addresses the tip of the iceberg. What really needs to be done is to do the same thing for all Department of Defense dependents that are graduating from a DOD high school that is overseas. These kids have no choice of where they reside, and often have never even been in the “home of record” state. And many kids are dependants if the Corp of Engineers, AAFES, etc. that are overseas as support to our military. If they have an ID card, and are in DEROS, they should be included.
Kerry Bowers says
This article is very misleading. From looking at the bill, this only applies to veterans/families using post 9/11 GI Bill funds for college. The headline and the writeup makes it sound like all veterans and their families will now qualify for in-state tuition.
I agree that the article is misleading. If you read the section of the bill (follow the link in the article) which applies here (section 702), it is quite clear that the student in question must be using VA education assistance (GI or post 9/11). Also, the student must be living in the state where the school is located. The law does not grant veterans and their families the right to in-state tuition. Schools can set their own tuition rates. However, the VA will not approve the course of study for a student using education benefits who is charged the higher out of state tuition. Of course, it is in the school’s interest to offer in state tuition and collect the federal funding. The way i read it, the bill is an incentive for schools to change their policies towards veterans. It is not a guaranteed benefit for all veterans and their families. One more thing: the veteran must enroll in the school within 3 years of being discharged from active duty. Not sure how that affects eligibility of family members…
Does this apply to families of veterans killed while serving?
Does this cover all Veteran families, even those who did not get to retirement? My husband did 7yrs- got out after 9/11 and an oversees tour.
Charles L. Troutman says
Glad this has come about. I am retired and while in my twenty years of service I had been transferred 15 times and my home of record changed about 6 times which made it very difficult to qualify for any instate tuition assistance. With this new benefit I feel that it will enable service personell a better chance to acquire a college education. Now if they would pass a law where in when an individual transferred to an other state the colleges are required to accept the credits earned at another college.
Finally! Great news! Bummer, we missed out! Needed January 2012.
Estela Anulao says
As a wife military would I will for tuition fee assistance