New In-State Tuition Tool for Student Veterans

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It's an unfortunate oversight that plagues roughly one in five veterans: in 2008, the post-9/11 GI Bill was designed to provide young veterans the best economic footing possible to attend public colleges and universities. Veterans are entitled to have the full cost of tuition and feeds waived, essentially dropping the cost of their higher learning to roughly zero. However, one major caveat is that veterans must adhere to strict residency requirements in order to receive the benefits. This becomes problematic when many veterans have spent years of their military service outside of the United States.

The American Legion has advocated for these out-of-luck veterans and helped create a powerful tool to help them. The Student Veterans of America (SVA), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and The American Legion have banded together to create a virtual map which displays each state's policy on in-state tuition for post-9/11 veterans.

"This new interactive map allows our college-bound veterans and veterans' advocates to fully understand the landscape of higher education and ways that SVA, VFW and the American Legion are working together to ensure that public colleges and universities in every state offer a quality, reasonably-priced education to our newest generation of veterans," said VFW Commander-in-Chief Bill Thien. "When the veterans' community worked to pass the Post-9/11 GI Bill five years ago, the goal was to offer veterans a free, public education at the school of their choice. Unfortunately, many schools disqualify veterans from receiving in-state tuition because archaic residency policies don't accommodate for the unique circumstances of military life. We're working hard to change that."

So far, twenty states have laws that waive the in-state residency requirement: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

Nine states are in the process of considering legislation that would waive the residency requirement. If they were passed, they wouldn't go into effect until 2014: Florida (SB 84 & HB 35), Massachusetts (HB 1072), Michigan (JR12, 13, & 14), New Hampshire (HB 624), New York (SB 1978), North Carolina (SB 357), Pennsylvania (HB 472), South Carolina (HB 3086), and Washington (HB 1011).

To see the interactive map for yourself, check it out here.

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