When changes to the GI Bill took effect in January, the revisions bridged a gap between the cost of public and private higher education for student veterans, leveling the educational playing field.
But WHQR's Sara Wood reports a new clause has created an unintended financial burden for several hundred student veterans in North Carolina.
The change went into effect in August and caps tuition benefits at nearly $18,000 per year for private and public education costs.
But it also specifies that only in-state tuition rates are paid for, a change that had some unintended consequences.
This school year several hundred student veterans across North Carolina have to pay out-of-state tuition for the first time.
Kai Bauer, who served almost 20 years in the military, started his bachelor’s degree in Washington but transferred to UNCW this fall. He had planned to graduate this spring, but that might not be possible due to this new extra burden of $12,000 per year as an out-of-state resident.
“I'm hoping people at our state level, will follow and come together and rightfully acknowledge veterans, when they serve in the US Military, whether it's for active duty or National Guard, they're over there representing the United States. Not just North Carolina, not just California or Washington, they're over there as the United States.”
Veteran and UNCW student Matt Goers helped form Student Veterans Advocacy Group of North Carolina to tackle this issue.
“I worked 90 hours a week for next-to-nothing for a year straight in Iraq, and we were pretty much promised these things as part of our service to be taken care of at least. It’s much more than just asking for a sum of money. It’s more so the principle of the matter and being taken care of.”
Currently more than 10 states changed their legislation to automatically grant veterans residency status. Congressman Mike McIntyre is working to change the legislation for student veterans in North Carolina.
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