Home But Not a Resident: Some Student Veterans Fighting to Stay on GI Bill

Courtesy of Hayleigh Perez-  Hayleigh Perez, a former Army sergeant who served in Iraq, argues that the University of North Carolina system has over-billed by her $4,600 that should have been covered, she contends, by the GI Bill. She is holding her daughter Caleigh.

By Bill Briggs, NBC News contributor


Some 250,000 student veterans are being forced to pay $10,000 for tuition each academic year because many colleges are misclassifying the residency status of those veterans — often for the schools’ own financial gain — according to a student veterans organization.

The issue centers on a fundamental change to the GI Bill, enacted last year by Congress, which stripped tuition benefits for veterans who attend public schools and who are categorized as out-of-state students. In-state student veterans enrolled at public institutions remain eligible for full tuition coverage under federal law.

But the financial fallout of the residency crunch is impacting student veterans in about 38 states, including Florida, North Carolina and California, reports the Student Veterans Advocacy Group (SVAG). Many of those same student veterans are lifelong residents of the states in which they’re now enrolled — even owning homes in those states — but their schools stamped them as out-of-state residents after they were temporarily transferred to other military bases, or deployed overseas.


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