by Amanda Johnson
Service members, spouses of service members and dependents will be able to pay in-state tuition at all public institutions in the state of Ohio under proposed legislation passed by the Ohio House.
Currently, there are just a handful of exceptions for some members in the military to achieve in-state status for tuition purposes.
“If you are an Ohio resident on full-time, active duty status with the military, you and your dependents are considered residents as long as Ohio has remained your state of domicile and you have fulfilled your tax obligation to the state while on active duty,” Ohio University’s website states.
This exception also applies to non-residents on full-time, active duty status with the military and those who are members of the Ohio National Guard.
According to Rep. Rick Perales, state law needs to be all-encompassing and include all members of the military, such as those members who serve in reserve units.
“Without a place to permanently call home, it is hard to justify limiting a dependent’s college choices to the state in which his or her parent or guardian was last stationed,” Perales said. “House Bill 16 is a small step Ohio can take to show our military members and their families that we support them and that we appreciate their service to our country.”
Among public institutions in Ohio is Wright State University (WSU) which is just miles away from Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB). WPAFB is the largest single-site employer in Ohio with approximately 29,300 civilian employees and personnel. The estimated economic impact of WPAFB is more than $15.54 billion.
Amanda Watkins, associate director of WSU’s Veteran and Military Center, told local media the legislation certainly would help military members.
“It expands their higher-ed opportunities and it allows them to find a college that fits their needs. It definitely will help,” she told the Dayton Daily News.
WSU recently adopted a similar proposal to that of HB 16. Since state law requires colleges to charge more for out-of-state tuition and fees than it does to in-state residents, WSU charges non-Ohio residents on active duty just $1 more than in-state students, WSU spokesman Seth Bauguess told the Dayton Daily News.
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Amanda Johnson is a contributor for WatchDog.org.