States Offering In-State Tuition For Veterans After 3 Years From Discharge

in-state tuition benefits veterans

States that Offer Veterans In-State Tuition Benefits

The Choice Act requires schools to allow non-resident veterans to qualify for in-state tuition for up to 3 years after their military service has ended.

For veterans to qualify for in-state tuition, they must use their Post 9/11 GI Bill within 3 years of separation from active duty service.

Beyond the Choice Act

While all states meet the Choice Act requirement and 27 states have passed laws that make veteran students eligible for in-state tuition beyond the 3-year limit, confusing and inconsistent laws remain in multiple states.

It stands to reason that amending the Choice Act will ensure that veterans have full access to the GI Bill benefit.

States That Offer Resident Tuition Beyond 3 Years to Veterans

All schools provide in-state tuition beyond the 3-year cap for veterans unless otherwise specified.

  • Florida – veterans, spouses and dependents all eligible beyond 3-year cap
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky – veterans, spouses and dependents all eligible beyond 3-year cap
  • Maine
  • Maryland – veterans, spouses and dependents all eligible beyond 3-year cap
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi – veterans, spouses and dependents all eligible beyond 3-year cap
  • New Jersey – veterans, spouses and dependents all eligible beyond 3-year cap
  • New Mexico – veterans, spouses and dependents all eligible beyond 3-year cap
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio – provides additional in-state tuition option called “GI Promise.”  Requires one year of active duty.
  • Oregon – attend public university and show evidence of physical presence in state within 12 months of enrollment
  • Pennsylvania – veterans and dependents all eligible beyond 3-year cap at state-related and state-owned institutions of higher learning including community colleges
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota – provides free tuition for some veterans
  • Tennessee – at public university
  • Texas – requires proof of intent to live in Texas
  • Utah – for veterans and their immediate families attending USHE institution that live within the state or have proof of intent to live in Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

States Granting Tuition with Limits Beyond 3 Years

These states are Choice Act compliant, however while they exceed Choice Act requirements, they are still inconsistent with the Forever GI Bill.

  • Alabama – Eligible for in-state tuition up to 5 years. After 5 years, veterans may qualify for in-state tuition if they live within 90 miles of an Alabama campus or attend an individual university that allows in-state tuition for active duty service members or veterans.
  • Alaska – University of Alaska system provides waiver for veterans eligible for the VA education benefit, their spouses, and dependents.  However, other public schools in Alaska do not.
  • Colorado – GI Promise Act offers in-state tuition adjustments, but not all veterans may qualify.
  • Connecticut – Covers 100% of tuition costs for veterans beyond the 3 year limit.
  • Delaware – University of Delaware provides waivers for qualified veterans. Offers benefits to dependents of POW or those MIA/KIA.
  • Georgia – Veterans are eligible for in-state tuition for up to 10 years.
  • Idaho – Veterans who meet requirements outlined in state statutes are eligible for non-resident tuition rates. These requirements are not consistent with the Choice Act.
  • New York – Veterans using Chapter 31 or 33 qualify for in-state tuition.
  • Nevada – Veterans and dependents are eligible for in-state tuition up to 5 years after separation from active duty.
  • Oklahoma – Veterans are eligible for in-state tuition for up to 5 years after separation from active duty.
  • US Virgin Islands – University of the Virgin Islands Community Engagement and Lifelong Learning Program provides free tuition to qualifying veterans.
  • Washington – State law lets individual institutions determine their own waiver program requirements and requires residency for in-state tuition.

States That Do Not Grant Resident Tuition Beyond 3 Years

These states are Choice Act compliant, but do not grant resident tuition beyond the Choice Act requirements.

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas – Scholarships for spouses and dependents of POWs or those MIA/KIA.
  • California – Offers tuition waivers to active duty service members, those living in the state a year prior to discharge, and dependents
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana – Indiana University System provides in-state tuition to any veteran who enrolls and establishes residency within a year of separation from active duty.
  • Louisiana – Act 581 provides an alternative avenue for in-state tuition with more strict requirements than the Choice Act. Disabled veterans and dependents qualify for in-state tuition.
  • Massachusetts – Offers waivers for those who qualify as veterans and permanent legal residents under state law.
  • Missouri – Missouri Returning Heroes Act provides a $50 per credit hour cap on tuition rates for qualified combat veterans. Dependents of active duty service members and veterans are eligible for in-state tuition.
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina – Some programs exist for dependents.
  • West Virginia – Only public universities comply with the Choice Act. Read West Virginia Veteran Benefits for more information.
  • South Carolina
  • New Hampshire – Some programs exist for dependents.
  • Vermont – Some programs exist for dependents.
  • Washington, DC
  • Wyoming

Choice Act Ready for an Upgrade

Legislation surrounding the GI Bill can be confusing and differ from state to state. Amending the Choice Act can support congruence between this act and the Forever GI Bill.

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act (Forever GI Bill) of 2017 allows veterans to use their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits at any time after separation from active duty service.

Section 702 of the Veterans’ Access, Choice and Accountability (Choice) Act of 2014 requires schools to provide in-state tuition to eligible student veterans in order for the school to receive GI Bill funding.

 

For more detailed information on state-by-state benefits, refer to State Veterans Benefits for all 50 States and Territories.

 

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About the author

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Chelsea Bostelman is a registered nurse who stays busy with freelance writing, exploring Europe, and working on a graduate degree in nursing. She founded the Stuttgart Nurse Journal Club to provide underemployed nurses with free continuing education opportunities. A 10-year military spouse, she and her family spend their free time hiking, biking, and eating in southern Germany.