Veterans who have been discharged in the last 3 years are now eligible for in-state tuition rates at public schools in all 50 states.
On Veterans Day the Whitehouse announced that all 50 states are compliant with the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act that the President signed into law last August. The law mandates that all veterans and their eligible dependents must be charged the in-state tuition at public schools or the schools will lose GI Bill funding. This law applies to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty, and the GySgt John D. Fry Scholarship.
The law was originally slated to take effect on July 1 of this year, but due to slow action by some state legislatures VA Secretary Bob McDonald issued a waiver in May giving states until December 31 of this year to comply with the law. As of Veterans Day, the VA says that all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and territories are compliant with the law. Only the Northern Marianas Islands have been granted a waiver from the VA and intend to comply with the law at a later date.
This means that a veteran using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, their dependent using transferred benefits, or the orphan or a veteran who died on active duty will have their full tuition and fees paid at any public school in the United States or territories. There are no longer any residency requirements, or higher non-resident tuition charges for veterans or their dependents using the covered GI Bill programs.
Of course, as with any government program there are lots of exceptions to the rule:
- This only applies to veterans who enroll in school within 3 years of discharge, or their dependents.
- For Fry Scholarship recipients, they must enroll in school within 3 years of their parent's date of death.
- Some totally online programs at public schools may charge the higher non-resident rate if the GI Bill recipient doesn't live in-state.
- GI Bill recipients who originally enroll in school within 3 years of discharge, then stop using their GI Bill for at least a semester (not a summer semester), or transfer schools and lose more than 12 credit hours in the transfer will lose eligibility if their second or subsequent enrollment is more than 3 year from the date of discharge
- GI Bill recipients who were originally within the 3 year time period when they started school before July 2, 2015 but are now past their 3 year eligibility are not covered or "grandfathered" with this program, they will still have to pay the higher non-resident rate at their school, unless their school makes an exception
- This also doesn't apply to active duty servicemember or their dependents, the law only applies to veterans or their dependents
Prior to this law, the Post-9/11 GI Bill only covered in-state tuition at public schools. Out-of-state, or non-resident, tuition can be more than $10,000 per year higher than in-state tuition.