Despite the promise of a free education through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, a News21 analysis found that 29 states have residency policies that force veterans to pay out-of-state tuition.
The higher-education benefit pays all tuition, fees and a housing stipend for veterans at any public institution. More than 2 million Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are eligible for a share of the nearly $21 billion that the Department of Veterans Affairs is budgeted to pay for higher education through the 2014 academic year.
Marine Corps Cpl. veteran Brian Oller’s benefits were not enough to compensate him for the more than $22,000 in out-of-state tuition he must pay to the UC San Diego. Like so many other vets, Oller grew fond of his last stateside duty station and decided to move there.
“I didn’t know about the out-of-state tuition until the day I showed up,” the 31-year-old Iraqi-war-veteran-turned-Earth-science-major said of his move from Lubbock, Texas. “That was a kick in the gut.”