Magazine article State Legislatures

Helping Vets Hit the Books

Magazine article State Legislatures

Helping Vets Hit the Books

Article excerpt

Military veterans can earn academic credit for skills they gained in the service and pay lower tuition rates in at least 25 states.

More than 800,000 veterans and their families are taking advantage of the U.S. government's post-9/11 GI Bill to attend college, and the number is expected to rise, according to the Student Veterans of America, an organization that supports veterans seeking higher education. In general, benefits pay for 36 months of tuition at the resident rate, typically much lower than the non-resident rate. (In 2012-13, public four-year institutions charged residents an average of $8,655 in tuition and fees per year, while they charged non-residents $21,706.)

The requirement that students establish residency--often defined as living in the state for 12 months--before receiving resident rates is waived for veterans in 25 states, and similar legislation is pending in at least eight more.

States are also acknowledging the value of skills and training veterans acquire in the military. Groups such as the American Council on Education and the Center for Adult and Experiential Learning have developed guidelines on assigning academic credit to specific military-related skills. At least half the states have passed legislation to develop similar criteria, and bills are pending in another five states. In Texas, a bill carried by Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D) created the College Credit for Heroes program to maximize college credit awarded to veterans and service members for their military experience. Administered by the Texas Workforce Commission, seven community colleges were selected in 2011 to help create standards for assessing military gaining that can be used by any college in Texas, with on allied health programs. …

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