All dependents of military service members stationed in Virginia are eligible for in-state college tuition rates, a move that should save military families thousands of dollars in higher education costs.
According to the text of the bill signed April 6 by Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, dependents of military members permanently stationed at any of the number of military bases in the state will be considered residents of Virginia for the purpose of eligibility for in-state tuition rates. Previously, a military member had to establish official residency at least a year prior to enrollment for a family member to be eligible for in-state tuition at a state-supported university in Virginia.
No member or dependent will be required to change their official residency to Virginia from another state to receive in-state tuition rates, as long as the student remains enrolled in school. The in-state tuition rates remain even if a student transfers between two Virginia schools."This move is great news for military families stationed in Virginia," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (SS/AW) Terry D. Scott. "It's often difficult and time-consuming to change an official residency, and many of our families have selected the state for their official residency for a good reason. Now they no longer have to make a choice between changing residency and taking advantage of Virginia?s in-state tuition rates."
Active-duty members will continue to be eligible for in-state tuition rates in Virginia by using the Tuition Assistance education benefit.
The difference between in-state tuition rates and out-of-state is substantial in Virginia. According to figures from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, out-of-state tuition rates for state-funded universities can be nearly three times as much as in-state rates.
"This is going to make a big difference in the quality of life of military families in Virginia," Scott said. "This is going to ease the financial burden of sending a student to college, and open up greater opportunities to attend school in the state for our families."