VETERANS MAY GET IN-STATE TUITION
News Release from Hawaii Student Veterans October 18, 2013
On October 18th, two student veteran leaders representing chapters of Hawaiʻi Alliance of Student Veterans (HASV) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa and Leeward Community College, testified in front of the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents in an effort to spark dialogue over the idea of amending tuition waiver regulations to include non-resident veterans so that they may receive in-state tuition fees throughout the UH System.
HASV, a non-profit with a mission of advocacy for student veterans across the Islands, has pointed out that 29 states have residency policies that force veterans to pay out-of-state tuition. And despite the promise of a free education through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Hawaiʻi is one of the 29 states that require veterans to spend a year living within their borders in order to qualify for lower tuition.
Out-of-state tuition can cost veterans more than their education benefits provide and thus contribute to their student loan debt. The year required to establish residency can also significantly delay veterans’ enrollment. The twenty-one states that acknowledge this dilemma for veterans have policies in place that waive the residency requirement.
Veterans paying out-of-state tuition at a public university may sometimes get additional help when their fees exceed the GI Bill maximum of $18,077.50 per academic year. Through the Yellow Ribbon Program, for example, the Department of Veterans Affairs will reimburse participating schools for some of the additional tuition and fee debt incurred by student veterans.
Various schools within the UH System have signed on to Yellow Ribbon. UH Manoa, however, only offers the program to 15 graduate students while UH West-Oahu offers Yellow Ribbon to all of its undergraduates.
Pili Williams, HASV chapter President at UH Manoa, says that "the inconsistencies are astonishing, since 2008 and 2010, UH has testified against in-state tuition for out of state residents, because UH did not want inconsistencies across their Higher Education system. We must address these critical issues and allow veterans to succeed in Higher Education, not because we deserve it, because we earned it.”
At a joint news conference last month, University of Hawaiʻi Interim President David Lassner and Secretary of Veteran Affairs, General (retired) Eric Shinseki, announced their plan to appoint a new UH task force to provide recommendations on how UH campuses across the state can better support veteran students.
"With the Interim President announcing a system wide task force, addressing student veteran best practices, to now the Board of Regents agreeing to hear student veteran leaders, these are exhilarating times for all student veteran leaders’ hard work,” said HASV Co-Founder James Cavin. “We are excited for the future of student veterans in Hawaiʻi, and we hope the Board of Regents will not table this critical issue, but take the time to collaborate to making Hawaiʻi truly veteran helpful."
So the question lingers. What does “veteran helpful” mean to the University of Hawai’i’s higher education system?
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Hawaiʻi Alliance of Student Veterans (HASV) was founded in 2013. HASV’s mission is to unite all student veterans across the Hawaiian Islands while bringing campus, community, and state awareness to all matters affecting student veterans. HASV aims to support all student veterans with their post-military adjustment and to improve the quality of their university experience across Hawaiʻi. Furthermore, HASV works to enhance communication across the state of Hawaiʻi for all student veterans.
LINK: HI Edu Data
LINK: In-State vs Out-of-State Tuition Rates