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New Law Expands In-State Tuition Eligibility To More Veterans

Military veterans will soon get expanded access to higher education. They now qualify for in-state tuition at all public colleges and universities even in states where they are only temporary residents.

In Vermont, non-residents pay almost twice as much tuition to state colleges and the University of Vermont as in-state students. That puts military veterans in a bind if they have recently moved or been transferred to a state where they do not have legal residence.

Until now, the G.I. bill did not cover out-of-state tuition so they have had to pay the difference in rates.  Vermont State Colleges Chancellor Jeb Spaulding says a new federal law taking effect July 1 will fix that problem.

“If you’re eligible for the G.I. bill under this and you’re eligible for in-state tuition, that’s obviously a big benefit,” Spaulding said. “We’re trying to use this new policy support from the federal law as a way to just get the word out as we do to various populations that college can be more affordable than many people think. The veterans will be part of the state’s need to move 60 percent of the Vermont population to have some kind of post-secondary credential to fill the job market that’s going to be ahead in the next decade.”

About 49,000 veterans now live in Vermont and more are expected to return to civilian life over the next few years. Several Vermont colleges are providing academic support and other services designed to ease the transition from military life to the classroom. Surveys show that many veterans drop out of college because of dislocation or trouble covering costs.  The new benefit is designed to make it easier for military personnel to earn a college degree. And the GI Bill now extends to spouses of service members who died in the line of duty after 9/11.

Charlotte Albright lives in Lyndonville and currently works in the Office of Communication at Dartmouth College. She was a VPR reporter from 2012 - 2015, covering the Upper Valley and the Northeast Kingdom. Prior to that she freelanced for VPR for several years.
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