Tonight, the House has considered and passed that would require in-state tuition for certain veterans (Section 4 of HR.357, the GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act as amended). The bill was brought up under an expedited process referred to as “Suspension of the Rules.” Bills brought up in this manner are generally bipartisan, non-controversial measures that are expected to pass easily.
In brief, the bill would require all public higher education institutions to charge in-state tuition to a veteran residing in the state of that institution, even if that veteran is officially a resident of another state. This requirement would remain in place for three years after the person is discharged from the military, assuming he or she continues to reside in the state where the institution is located. The in-state tuition policy would apply beginning in July 2016 and would only cover the veteran — not their dependents using GI Bill benefits. It appears that a consequence of this bill would be that public higher education institutions would no longer qualify for the out-of-state federal benefit of the GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program since the veterans/students involved here would no longer be considered out-of state.
A much broader bill was previously under consideration that would have required lifetime in-state tuition to veterans and their dependents regardless of their actual state residency.
Nearly 30 states have already passed or are considering enacting legislation to provide in-state residency waivers to veterans at their public colleges and universities. Washington state is currently considering similar legislation that would allow instate tuition for one year. Other states, several individual campuses and university systems offer in-state waivers to their veteran student populations.
The measure passed by a vote of 390-0.
The Office of Federal Relations will continue to track this issue and continue to provide updates as the legislation progresses.