Veterans who use their service-related tuition benefits to attend UConn or send their dependents will no longer face a three-year deadline to enroll under the in-state rate, thanks to a new policy enacted Wednesday by UConn’s Board of Trustees.
Universities nationwide are adopting policies to comply with the federal Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, which requires public institutions to start charging in-state rates as of July 1, 2015 for veterans and their dependents who attend using military education benefits.
However, that federal act required the veteran, his or her spouse, and dependents to apply within three years of the veteran’s military discharge. That meant veterans who waited to return to school, or dependent children who didn’t reach college age within three years of the discharge, could not take advantage of the in-state rates if they lived outside of Connecticut.
The Aug. 5 vote by the Board of Trustees removes the three-year window, so that any qualified veterans and dependents whose legal residency is outside of Connecticut and who use veterans’ educational benefits can receive the in-state rate at any time after discharge – even many years later.
“We have an obligation to all of our students, and a special obligation to our veterans,” President Susan Herbst said Wednesday. “The more we can do to assist them and help ensure their success at the University, the better.”
UConn has about 900 veterans enrolled in its student body, along with more than 300 members of its faculty and staff. It also has active Army and Air Force ROTC programs, and its Office of Veterans Affairs and Military Programs helps guide student veterans to a variety of academic, financial, and social resources.
The University receives tuition from the U.S. Veterans Administration on behalf of the qualified beneficiaries, so UConn will continue to receive those payments even if the veteran is eligible for the in-state rate when he or she otherwise would have been classified under out-of-state rates.
The University has been active in implementing new initiatives and boosting programs for veterans.
Last year, for instance, UConn expanded its fall and spring tuition waiver for veterans with qualifying combat service to include courses during the summer and winter intersessions. This provides the opportunity for veterans admitted to UConn for an undergraduate or a graduate program to take courses tuition-free year round, and pick their own timeframe for completing their degrees.
Additionally, beginning in fall 2014, the University started waiving all application fees for veterans seeking undergraduate admission to UConn.
The new action by UConn’s Board of Trustees to remove the federal law’s three-year post-service enrollment requirement to qualify for in-state tuition is consistent with nearly 20 other states that made the same change, UConn Provost Mun Choi told trustees in a memo for the Aug. 5 board meeting.
“This new policy supported by the University administration and enacted by the Board of Trustees serves to reinforce the University’s total commitment to veterans and their family members,” said Kristopher Perry, director of UConn’s Office of Veterans Affairs and Military Programs.
“UConn has once again gone above and beyond the minimum requirements of statutes, and demonstrated the University’s resolve to set the benchmark for veteran support on campus as we seek to become the higher education destination of choice for veterans nationwide,” Perry added. “Our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much in service to and defense of our great nation. Now it’s our turn to serve them.”
Anyone with questions about any veterans or military programs at UConn may contact the Office of Veteran Affairs and Military Programs. It is located in Arjona Room 345, and can also be reached via email (Veterans@uconn.edu), phone (860-486-2442), or on the Web.