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WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Student Veterans of America (SVA), in partnership with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and The American Legion, launched a virtual in-state tuition map for student veterans and veteran advocates. The map is color coded providing key stakeholders with real-time information on the status of in-state tuition for veterans in each state and at specific institutions of higher education.
"The virtual map will arm future student veterans with valuable information on where they can maximize their GI Bill and other veteran education benefits," said SVA's outgoing executive director Michael Dakduk. "This would not have been possible without the support of The American Legion and the VFW. They remain our strongest allies in advocating for and supporting military veterans in higher education."
"This new interactive map allows our college-bound veterans and veterans' advocates to fully understand the landscape of higher education and ways that SVA, VFW and The American Legion are working together to ensure that public colleges and universities in every state offer a quality, reasonably-priced education to our newest generation of veterans," said VFW Commander-in-Chief Bill Thien. "When the veterans' community worked to pass the Post-9/11 GI Bill five years ago, the goal was to offer veterans a free, public education at the school of their choice. Unfortunately, many schools disqualify veterans from receiving in-state tuition because archaic residency policies don't accommodate for the unique circumstances of military life. We're working hard to change that."
"The American Legion contributed to this interactive map project because it saw genuine value in it as an easy-to-use resource for student veterans," said Joe Sharpe, economic director of The American Legion. "We have been leading a state-by-state initiative to convince state legislatures to introduce bills that would make student veterans eligible for in-state tuition rates. And we're not going to stop until this map shows that our veterans qualify for in-state tuition in the entire United States. We collaborated with SVA and VFW to make this map available to America's veterans, and we certainly appreciate their efforts as well."
Twenty states currently have state laws that waive the in-state residency requirement for veterans: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
Higher education systems in seven states have a policy that waive the in-state residency requirements for veterans: Alaska, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. Alaska, Georgia, and Wisconsin's school system policy also includes most of the 2-year public colleges.
The laws or school policies in the following states extend the in-state residency waiver to the dependents of veterans: Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia.
Mississippi is a special state case where student veterans must meet certain requirements in order to qualify for the in-state residency waiver.
There are nine states that are currently looking at legislation that would grant the in-state tuition waiver, but would not go into effect until the fall term of 2014: Florida (SB 84 & HB 35), Massachusetts (HB 1072), Michigan (JR12, 13, & 14), New Hampshire (HB 624), New York (SB 1978), North Carolina (SB 357), Pennsylvania (HB 472), South Carolina (HB 3086), and Washington (HB 1011).
About Student Veterans of America
SVA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit coalition of over 850 student veteran organizations on college campuses globally. SVA's mission is to provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation.
About the American Legion
The American Legion is the largest wartime veterans service organization with 2.4 million members in nearly 14,000 posts in nearly every community in America. The Legion, established by an act of Congress in 1919, was instrumental in getting the original GI Bill through Congress and the creation of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Today, the organization is active throughout the United States, supporting current military personnel and veterans, sponsoring American Legion Baseball, Boys State, Oratorical Contests and other activities for youth, and pushing for the adoption of a constitutional amendment to prohibit desecration of the U.S. flag.
About the Veterans of Foreign Wars
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is a nonprofit veterans' service organization composed of combat veterans and eligible military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces. Founded in 1899 and chartered by Congress in 1936, the VFW is the nation's largest organization of war veterans and its oldest major veterans' organization. With nearly 2 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in more than 7,000 Posts worldwide, "NO ONE DOES MORE FOR VETERANS." The VFW and its Auxiliaries are dedicated to veterans' service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs worldwide.