As far as granting in-state tuition, you are correct when you point out that this is a state-by-state responsibility. That said, there is something that the federal government can do to encourage states to adopt similar legislation.
H.R. 357, the GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act, would restrict GI Bill money to those state-funded colleges that offer in-state tuition to veterans. The bill is being introduced by the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Jeff Miller, on Feb. 3. The American Legion has issued an Action Alert to its members, urging them to let their senators and representatives know that we support this bill.
For student veterans who attend public higher-education institutions, the Post-9/11 GI Bill only pays in-state tuition and eligible fees. Veterans who settle in states -- other than their states of residence -- upon separating from the service are initially charged "out-of-state" tuition, which means they must pay the difference between the resident and non-resident charges.
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.
Daniel M. Dellinger, national commander of The American Legion, recently expressed support for this legislation:
"It is only right, proper and fitting that student veterans be afforded the in-state tuition rate at institutions of higher learning, regardless of their official residency status. These men and women seeking to better themselves educationally have given great service to our entire nation and should, therefore, be considered honorary citizens of all states."
If you haven't already done so, please click here and let your elected officials know that veterans who seek higher education should not be penalized just because they have served in the military.
Louis J. Celli, Jr.
Director, Legislative Division