Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn introduced legislation along with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin that would give student-veterans access to in-state tuition rates at public colleges regardless of if they are in-state residents who receive GI Bill payments.
“We should give our veterans every opportunity to succeed after they have finished their service,” Blackburn said. “This legislation would eliminate existing obstacles that prevent our men and women in uniform from a smooth transition into civilian life. I am glad that Tennessee is currently one of the 27 states that currently waives the three-year cap. Let’s make it one of 50.”
Right now, the GI Bill has a provision that requires veterans to be within three years of discharge from active duty to access in-state tuition rates.
Manchin explained why this bill helps veteran students.
“In the United States, Veteran students tend to outperform and out-earn their non-veteran counterparts. Veterans not only defend our freedoms and sacrifice for our country, they continuously work hard and search for opportunities to succeed here at home. Improving the Forever GI Bill will help Veteran students gain access to in-state tuition without having a ‘three-year rule’ that limits their opportunity to receive an education in whatever state they choose,” he said.
The legislation is supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Student Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the American Legion.
Fellow Tennessean Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN-01) introduced companion legislation, H.R.3608, in the House of Representatives last week to expand in-state tuition rates for student veterans.
“Veterans volunteer to defend all fifty states and every United States territory, not just their own,” said Roe. “That’s why Congress acted in 2014 to allow student veterans using the Post 9/11 GI Bill within three years of leaving the military to receive the in-state tuition rate at the school of their choice, regardless of their residency status. Now that veterans can use their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits whenever they choose thanks to the Forever GI Bill, veterans should also be able to benefit from in-state tuition rates whenever they choose.”
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