According to an article posted on Military.com, a judge recently struck down a clause in a the Hazlewood Act that limits veterans' tuition benefits to those who enlisted in the military while living in Texas. This means that all Texas veterans are now eligible for the benefit regardless of where the initially enlisted.
The Hazlewood Act is a Texas state benefit that provides qualified veterans, spouses, and dependent children with an education benefit of up to 150 hours of tuition exemption, including most fee charges, at public institutions of higher education in Texas. The benefit does NOT include living expenses, books, or supply fees. The Hazlewood Act is one of the nations most generous education programs offered at the state level.
The clause in question limits the benefits to veterans who were Texas residents when they enlisted (or otherwise joined the military). The court found that this part of the law is in violation of a the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
While this is good news for veterans who reside in Texas, the financial impact of the ruling may force the Texas legislature to re-evaluate the Hazelwood Act.
According to the Legislative Budget Board, the Hazlewood Act cost Texas universities $169 million in 2014 and is projected to reach $379.1 million by 2019. About 39,000 students were covered by the Hazlewood Act in 2014, according to the budget board. That was up from 29,000 in 2012 and 36,000 in 2013.
The impact of the ruling could be financially devastating.