One provision of the VA reform bill Congress passed in July 2014 will benefit recent veterans pursuing a post-military education.
The $16.3 billion Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 will require public schools to offer the in-state tuition rate to veterans within three years of their discharge from active duty. Schools that fail to comply by July 1, 2015, risk losing VA approval to receive GI Bill benefits. The bill won’t go into effect, however, until fall semester 2015.
The bill also grants the in-state rate to veterans’ spouses and dependents.
Currently 27 states or university systems already offer in-state tuition to veterans. Why does it matter? Because the Post-9/11 GI Bill pays all in-state tuition and fees at public institutions. Out-of-state students, however, must pay the difference if their school doesn’t participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which splits the difference with the VA. That leaves some student veterans facing a bill that could reach into the tens of thousands of dollars.
The Student Veterans of America (SVA) has long pushed for legislation that would allow all veterans to receive in-state tuition.
“This week, Congress has made it clear that they are serious about providing for our nation’s veterans,” SVA President and CEO D. Wayne Robinson said about the bill.
Other highlights of the reform bill:
- Veterans can receive care outside the VA if they live more than 40 miles from a VA facility or they’ve waited more than 30 days for an appointment.
- Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits will be extended to spouses of service members who die while serving on active duty.