Sunday, May 26, 2013

AirForce Times: Many Vets Charged Out-of-State Tuition, Driving Them Into Debt

During a time in which service members face continued battles abroad, while most Americans falsely presume that the war, for instance, in Afghanistan is winding down, they are facing another hurdle at home - according to a recent article, published in the AirForce Times by Rick Maze, many public colleges and universities charge student veterans out-of-state tuition.

However, the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee leaders are attempting to put an end to this practice with the Veterans' Educational Transition Act (S 944). In addition, the House Veterans' Affairs Committee Affairs Committee passed legislation, the GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act (HR 357). Since Democrats and Republicans both support - at least publicly - the military and service members, these bills should receive bipartisan support. At the same time, universities and the groups that lobby on their behalf are enormously powerful on the Hill, so it remains to be seen what sort of spin they'll put on exactly why service members pay out-of-state tuition.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said that he has heard from a number of veterans that universities lump student veterans with out-of-state students, and this drives up the cost of school for them.

"As a result, many of our nation's veterans must use loans to cover the difference and in the process become indebted with large school loans that will take years to pay off," Sanders said.

These are men and women who have put their lives on the line, so it is beyond problematic that universities charge them out-of-state tuition.

Even worse, what about the veterans who are currently drowning in student loan debt? What about the current soldiers and veterans who are being targeted by for-profit universities? What about the veterans who have gone into default while being deployed? (Yes, this has occurred, because a few of them have written to me and told me that they reached out to their lenders, explained that they were being deployed, and still were placed in default).


Anonymous said...

"It remains to be seen what sort of spin they'll put on exactly why service members pay out-of-state tuition."

Um, because the veterans in question are residents of other states, perhaps? I know, what tortured logic I'm using.

Most state schools believe it's good politics to treat all active-duty soldiers as "in-state" for tuition purposes. But I'm not aware of any law that requires them to do so.

If a college is demanding too much money, those veterans should vote with their feet by taking their business elsewhere. Shoot, even non-veterans should be doing that.

Anonymous said...

I too don't see a story here. The vets generally get everything covered by the GI Bill anyway. Most of them seem to come back from abroad, find jobs, then waste their GI Bill money on ridiculous online degrees. (Yes, the proliferation of online degree mills is a direct result of veterans and the government's generous veteran education benefits.)

Thanks for your service, vets. But you're already getting your education for free or close to, along with generous living benefits and book benefits added in. (Great for those who actually put their lives on the line, but the vast majority of vets were as safe overseas as we are over here - the front lines are a fraction of the military presence.) Don't fuss about it not being 100% free when you choose to go to some expensive college. There are plenty of colleges that you can afford under your education benefits.

Instead of complaining about how you need more money, how about joining our fight for lower college costs? That way, we all win.

Russ McCoy said...

Could you find out if any of those states who deny in-state tuition to veterans grant it to illegal immigrants? If there are any, that would be egregiously unfair.

Anonymous said...

^ Um, actually, I don't think many veterans ARE complaining about this issue.

Anonymous said...

While I am forever grateful to our veterans to serving our country, I do agree that they have the benefit of the GI Bill and although this benefit was earned, I see them at an advantage over regular students who must have their entire educations funded by loan money. I do agree that their home states should allow for in-state tuition but other than that, I see vets having a bit of an advantage. I guess I do not understand why it is not possible to pay while deployed?? Perhaps I do not understand the military life.