Some military service members, veterans paid tax but denied in-state tuition
WASHINGTON — Some military service members and veterans are being denied their most well-known government benefit: college tuition coverage.
Ted Spencer, a Navy veteran who grew up in Charlotte, continued to pay the state income tax during his service. But he was denied the in-state tuition rate at North Carolina State University because military service had taken him to California.
The federal government covers the cost of the $8,000 per year in-state rate, but Spencer needed loans and scholarships to cover the $22,000 out-of-state tab.
“It's mind-blowing to me that North Carolina — a state that is known for being extremely military-friendly and home to the largest military base in the United States — would be so difficult when it comes to military veterans who want to call this state home,” Spencer said.
Belen Gebremichael, the residency director at N.C. State, said the university has little control over to which students they grant in-state tuition, since it has to follow state guidelines. Like many states, North Carolina requires students to be both legal residents and physically living in the state to qualify for the in-state rate. It means that military members could be paying income taxes to a state the entire time they are serving, but if they're physically stationed in another state, they may not qualify for lower tuitions.
Legislation introduced in the House of Representatives in February by Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and in the Senate in January by Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., would change that by allowing veterans to attend any public college or university at the in-state tuition rate starting Aug. 1, 2014. If schools would not provide the discounted rate, they would lose federal funds from the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, which provides funding for service members' tuition and fees.
“The men and women who served this nation did not just defend the citizens of their home states, but the citizens of all 50 states,” Miller said. “The educational benefits they receive from the taxpayers should reflect that.”
Seventeen states offer in-state tuition to all veterans, regardless of where they served; seven states offer it with conditions; and 12 states are considering legislation.
Ohio was the first state to pass legislation, in 2009. Dubbed the G.I. Promise, it requires public schools to offer in-state tuition to all troops and veterans.
Groups such as the American Association of State Colleges and Universities worry that the bill represents an overreach by the federal government, since determining tuition rates is something states handle.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Over 3 years, extended federal leave adds up to $775M
- Crying suspect trapped in Calif. chimney, saved but arrested
- High court will take case on gun ownership
- Edible pot ban proposed, yanked in Colorado
- Revised Ebola guidelines stress full gear, training
- West Virginia University warns students over riots
- Suspect in Va. disappearance charged in rape
- Indiana slaying suspect hints at more deaths
- GOP governors don’t see ‘Obamacare’ going away
- Navy civilian goes on trial for diverting $2M to brother of his boss
- Congress examines NSA official’s part-time job