16 September 2014

New Legislation Helps Veterans Attend College

George M. Vukovich, Director, Veterans Relations at American Military University:

A recent article on Money.com, “Why Veterans Will Soon Save Thousands on College,” provides promising information for veterans and their family members as they transition from the military to civilian life, college, and beyond.

As a retired Marine and advocate for veterans achieving higher education success—I truly appreciate the congressional effort to enact new legislation to assist veterans by immediately classifying them with  in-state residency standing for higher education tuition purposes. Most states historically maintained stringent standards of 12-month residency before service members become eligible for lower in-state tuition rates, which placed undue financial burdens on many veterans and their families. However, the Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 changed that situation.

Starting in fall 2015, veterans and their family members will be able to automatically pay in-state tuition rates at any U.S. public university. That’s exciting and welcomed news. The new legislation is very promising, impactful, and worthy of continued discussion threads in order to help spread the word throughout the veteran community.

Coupled with the GI Bill, the in-state public tuition legislation will enable veterans to attend school without facing huge out-of-pocket payments through student loan repayment.  There may be cases where some costs are not covered—such as enrollment in nursing or engineering programs—but additional funding may not be required for the vast majority of veteran students. 

This is another welcomed benefit for veterans to help them meet their educational goals and prepare for their careers. And they have the option to go to an in-state college or complete their education at a quality online institution—giving them a wide variety of flexible options no matter where they're located. 

The mobility factor of online education is growing in popularity, especially for working adults with limited time. The convenience, flexibility, and quality of instruction often present the ideal option for veterans balancing career goals, raising families, and wishing to connect online with other likeminded professionals and service members.

For a better understanding of how valuable this new legislation will be for veterans, review the CollegeBoard’s Trends in College Pricing report which breaks down the average in-state and out-of-state rates, or this helpful comparison chart posted by The Pew Charitable Trusts

Thankfully, our elected representatives have made veterans initiatives a focal point in recent years.  Let’s all do our part to help circulate this information to help our veterans find greater success in life!

George M. Vukovich is a retired Marine Corps. Gunnery Sergeant and proud father of two college graduates. For 12 years he has willfully served American Military University and the thousands of military and veteran students who are investing time and effort toward their degree. George is also a former President of the Virginia Advisory Council for Military Education (VA-ACME) and served the Board of the Council of College and Military Educators (CCME).

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