Back to News Front

A better GI Bill

Military vets get a break in out-of-state tuition costs in 18 more states

Photo credit: Brad Herman

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Military veterans wanting to further their education are now exempt from paying out-of-state tuition at any public college, no matter the state.

Last year, Congress enacted the waiver and it will go into effect starting in the fall semester 2015. The bill - which is called the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 - expands a veteran's GI Bill benefit and they'll no longer face financial constraints in enrolling in a public university outside of the state they are living.

The maximum reimbursement for veterans wanting to attend a private or foreign college is $20,235.02 per academic year. For public schools, all tuition and fee payments are covered for an in-state student.

Thirty-two states, including Washington, were already waving the out-of-state tuition for military veterans. So, there are 18 states that will be affected by this new law. Those 18 states are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, D.C., Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The out-of-state tuition waver is significant for anyone in the military because they are assigned to many locations in their career. The new law, which goes into effect in July, will resolve that problem. For example, in-state tuition for the University of California is $11,200 and out-of-state tuition is $34,100. That's a difference of $22,900.

Cal Berkeley, which is one of College Factual's top 100 schools for veterans, is now more affordable for veterans who are not residents of California.

As another example of how much of a savings the new law means, the in-state tuition at the University of North Carolina is $6,400 and out-of-state tuition is $28,200, a whopping difference of $21,800.

Colleges that fail to comply by July 1 risk losing VA approval to receive GI Bill benefits.

While veterans will receive a break in tuition costs, they got a setback when Congress recommended that the GI Bill's housing allowance be eliminated when the benefit is used by a child.

The bill says, "It is the sense of Congress that each secretary concerned should exercise the authority to be more selective in permitting the transferability of unused education benefits to family members in a manner that encourages the retention of individuals in the Armed Forces."

The revision is a way of enticing someone to re-enlist. However, parents in the military can still transfer the college benefit to their child. Also, parents don't have to transfer that education benefit to one child.

As of now, a parent in the military has to serve six years before they can transfer the education benefit to their child. The Department of Defense is considering extending that to 10 years.

Historically, education benefits for those in the military have gotten smaller during times of military downsizing. Right now, the country is in the middle of a military downsizing, which makes the GI Bill somewhat susceptible and creates some uncertainly for military families looking at education as a way to transition to civilian life.

Read next close


A course of therapy and hope

comments powered by Disqus