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H.R. 357, G.I. Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013

H.R. 357, G.I. Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013

“The men and women who served this nation did not just defend the citizens of their home states, but the citizens of all 50 states. As such, the educational benefits they receive from the taxpayers should reflect that.

-Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

What the Bill Does:

H.R. 357 would expand education opportunities for veterans by allowing them to attend the state-run higher-education institution of their choice at the in-state tuition rate. It would do this by requiring public schools to charge in-state tuition rates to all veterans in order for the school to be eligible to receive G.I. Bill education payments. This requirement would take effect Aug. 1, 2014. G.I. Bill students enrolling before Aug. 1, 2014, at schools that choose not to charge veterans in-state tuition could still apply their benefits toward tuition at those institutions.

Why it is important:

Under current law, the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill covers tuition and fees at the in-state rate of public schools, but due to the wide variance in state residency laws, veterans often have a hard time establishing legal residency where they live. Under current the law, veterans looking to attend a public institution outside of their state of legal residence could have to cover the balance of tuition and fees from a source other than G.I. Bill benefits. 

According to the College Board, the average non-resident tuition rate at public 4-year schools is $21,706 while resident rates average $8,655.  That is an average 250% increase over in-state tuition rates and in many states, the increase is about 300% for non-residents.  This bill would reduce what is often a $24,000 yearly tuition and fee bill to under $9,000 on average.

Who benefits:

Everyone. America’s veterans have always been a source of strength for our economy. And since its inception, the G.I. Bill has given generations of veterans the tools to successfully transition from leaders on the battlefield to leaders of business and industry. The G.I. Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013 would strengthen this proven program, making it easier for veterans to get a quality education at the institution of their choice, regardless of residency.  

Why this bill should become law:

  • H.R. 357 would ensure that veterans can attend an institution of higher learning that meets their specific needs without worrying about the inflated costs which out-of-state-residents often must pay. 
  • This bill recognizes the wide variance of state residency laws  and provides a simple solution to the difficulties veterans can face in establishing a permanent residency.
  • It would give veterans broader educational choices that better fit their specific needs and helps ease their transition into civilian life.
  • The G.I. Bill is a proven entity, and giving veterans more choices with respect to their educational opportunities further strengthens an already beneficial program.

What Others Are Saying:

“Because of the nature of military service, veterans often have a difficult time establishing residency for purposes of obtaining in-State tuition rates. This bill will address this problem and ensure that veterans can access the affordable higher education options they have earned.” – Rep. Mike Michaud, Ranking Member, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

“We fully support Chairman Miller’s and Congressman Michaud’s efforts to provide in-state tuition to student veterans regardless of residency status. Student Veterans of America believes the “G.I. Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013” addresses the issue of inequity within the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill and will do a great deal to support veterans’ success in higher education.” – Michael Dukdak, President, Student Veterans of America

“Over the last couple of years, the VFW has heard from countless veterans driven into more expensive college programs because public schools offered no flexibility in residency requirements, prohibiting veterans from attending at the in-state rate. The VFW is proud to see that Chairman Miller and Ranking Member Michaud have already taken a bold stance to ensure student-veterans attending public schools receive a reasonably-priced education at the public school of their choice, as we intended when we passed the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.” – Bob Wallace, Executive Director, Veterans of Foreign Wars

The G.I. Bill Tuition Fairness Act also has the support of the following organizations:

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

American Legion

Paralyzed Veterans of America

Association of the United States Navy

Fleet Reserve Association

Military Officers Association of America

Full Details