Veteran In-State Tuition Benefits – 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 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.

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 Do Not Grant Resident Tuition

Student Veterans of America provides the following summary of states that do not grant resident tuition beyond the Choice Act requirements.


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


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.



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.

Wisconsin – Robust benefits for residents.


States Granting Tuition with Limits Beyond 3 Years

Student Veterans of America provides the following summary of states that exceed Choice Act requirements, but 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.

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.

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