RALEIGH NC — Legislation now in the U.S. Senate and House would change the rules on college tuition for military veterans to make those rules uniform with regard to tuition rates. If the measure passes, veterans attending any public college or university would pay in-state tuition rates, which are typically lower than out-of-state rates. It’s a good bill and it deserves to sail through Congress and into law.
One example of inconsistency cited in a McClatchy Newspapers report was a veteran from Charlotte who though he was raised in North Carolina was denied in-state tuition at N.C. State University because his military service had taken him to California. This wasn’t sinister on NCSU’s part. The school was just following state rules that require those who want in-state tuition to be legal residents and living in the state. That goes even if someone stationed elsewhere in the military is paying state income taxes.
Obviously, this needs to be changed, immediately. An opportunity for education is important for military service members who have put themselves in harm’s way or served far from home for extended periods of time. Universities’ concerns about lost revenue aren’t good enough to deny this benefit. Considering how many public and private schools have ramped up tuition and fees far ahead of the inflation rate over the last decade, offering in-state tuition to veterans is not much to ask. (The legislation would provide for a loss of federal funds to schools that would not provide the discounted tuition rate.)
A good bill is a good bill. Some states already offer this deal. There is no reason why all others should not follow.