Archive for Monday, November 28, 2011

KU student seeking passage of Kansas bill allowing veterans to pay in-state tuition rate at universities

Kansas ROTC members sing the Alma Mater prior to kickoff against Georgia Tech, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010 at Kivisto Field. A Kansas University student and Marine Corps veteran believes recent changes to the GI Bill are unfair to veterans who attend public universities as out-of-state residents.

Kansas ROTC members sing the Alma Mater prior to kickoff against Georgia Tech, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010 at Kivisto Field. A Kansas University student and Marine Corps veteran believes recent changes to the GI Bill are unfair to veterans who attend public universities as out-of-state residents.

November 28, 2011


A Kansas University student and Marine Corps veteran thinks recent changes to the GI Bill are unfair to veterans who attend public universities as out-of-state residents.

And Sara Sneath, a KU junior who qualifies as an in-state resident, is asking the Kansas Legislature next session to pass a bill that would allow all honorably discharged veterans who served at least 36 months on active duty to be treated as in-state residents.

“It’s just overwhelming to think what this person sacrificed, and for their benefits to be cut off in any way, it’s just very unfortunate,” said Sneath, who retired as a Marine corporal and served as a consulate guard. “It shouldn’t happen.”

She’s been working with Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, and his staff to draft a bill. Arizona passed a similar law last year.

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Sneath, a member of the KU Collegiate Veterans Association, said the change is necessary because the recent Post-9/11 GI Bill Congress passed that took effect this year removed a previous cap per credit hour for how much the GI Bill would pay. That is helpful for some veterans studying in expensive programs like engineering and business, but Sneath said it hurts out-of-state students because now their GI Bill benefits only cover them at the in-state rate, putting them on the hook for the difference.

And she said any grants or scholarships the out-of-state student veterans receive for tuition and fees could be deducted from their overall benefits.

“Those two factors are just killing out-of-state students, and they’re going to leave,” said Sneath, who is studying journalism, sociology and Spanish.

She hopes if Kansas passes a bill similar to Arizona, it could also make the state’s universities more attractive to veterans who would be considered out-of-state residents.

Sneath said many veterans originally enlisted in the military because they had limited options for college and were expecting higher education benefits once they finished, plus a majority of younger veterans now also have served one or more combat tours in Iraq or Afghanistan that were dangerous and put them away from their families for an extended period of time.

“I just don’t think that veterans’ benefits should be cut,” she said. “Find another way to do this.”


KS 6 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like an awesome idea. We give instate tuition to illegals. The veterans served. Common sense should prevail on this one.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

It'd be even better if the military weren't the employer of last resort for so many hundreds of thousands of people.

KS 6 years, 4 months ago

And you believe that a lack of defense is?

ignatius_j_reilly 6 years, 4 months ago

You don't need that much money for defense.

parrothead8 6 years, 4 months ago

Right now, out of the top 20 countries in military expenditures, we are #1 in the world. Our total equals the combined expenditures of the next 19 on the list.

I seriously doubt that reducing those expenditures will make us defenseless.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

And the majority of those 19 countries are our allies and/or pose no threat to us.

skinny 6 years, 4 months ago

Just_another _bozo I know several people that joined the armed services voluntarily after 9/11. You comment was in poor taste! I'd be willing to bet you did not serve YOUR country!

I am game on allowing our veterans to pay in state tuition rates at all universities.

ivalueamerica 6 years, 4 months ago

skinny, just because there are many who join out of duty and patriotism, bozo's comment is still valid. The majority who serve and die have always been lower income minorities with limited access to other options.

To question one's patriotism because they have or not have served is very suspect, it is a weak argument to counter the fact that low income and minority citizens die for our country in greater numbers simply because of their economic situation.

DRsmith 6 years, 4 months ago

Ah...only in America can an illegal get in state tuition and a vet not. This should have been done long ago.

ignatius_j_reilly 6 years, 4 months ago

Nobody's benefits are being "cut off." This seems, as I understand it, as an extra allowance. But of course this is a great idea. Reward those who have sacrificed, sure -- but, looking at things selfishly, KU could stand to add a lot of people like Ms. Sneath.

DB Ashton 6 years, 4 months ago

Having taken advantage of the GI Bill in the Vietnam era at KU, I'd think this would be handled far better at the federal level to keep the program admission-neutral and make elite private education accessible to qualified veterans as well, as it continues to be for exceptional active duty personnel.

The University of Kansas, I'd believe, is welcome to set whatever mature-student admission policy it might choose and I can't imagine any university issuing a blanket welcome to any category of applicant at its lowest rate.

Danimal 6 years, 4 months ago

This has been proposed in the Kansas legislature more than once, most recently I believe in 2007. Of course, every time it has either failed, never made it out of committee, or been amended out of whatever legislation it's in. It's a great idea, but I doubt it passes.

olefactory 6 years, 4 months ago

Why do veterans deserve to pay in state tuition in Kansas when a resident of Nebraska working as a waitress or a janitor who is an Oklahoma resident can't? Didn't the veteran willfully apply for a job and agree to do the job just as anyone else would? Veterans are at the mercy of their commander and their orders from the pentagon. It is their job to obey their orders. It's what they signed up to do. Why do folks like teachers, fire(people), and veterans think they are entitled to special treatment? These Veterans who are complaining were not drafted or forced to serve. Neither was the out of state waitress who handled 100 customers in one day or the janitor who cleaned up after 1100 students at the end of the day. If anyone deserves a break in tuition, it's them. Veterans chose their profession. So, stop asking for more government handouts because you 'served'. The GI bill is an amazing benefit that many U.S. citizens and non citizens will never be able to take advantage. You actually get paid to go to school so be happy with that and go to college and shut up.

eljakeo 6 years, 4 months ago

I am a student veteran myself, and I definitely agree that there are a lot of other very hard working people in this world besides just veterans. It is also true that we signed up, and we knew what we were getting into. However, this law would benefit the state and the university as well, not just veterans. Several states already offer in-state tuition, and there is obviously going to be an enormous influx of veterans with GI Bill benefits leaving service as Iraq and Afghanistan wind down and the military downsizes. This represents a huge opportunity for KU and other state institutions to compete for all of these service members, their guaranteed tuition, and their high motivation to complete a degree. It will also increase KU's "cred" as a vet-friendly school, which will help it get into those magazine lists that people like to consult when choosing a college. If out of state students have the option to go to any number of other states without any out-of-pocket expenses, or Kansas where they will likely have to pay part of their tuition and incur debt, KU is going to be missing out on a LOT of potential students. With declining enrollment, I don't think that's the way they want to go.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

I don't object to giving vets this benefit.

But a much better idea would be to cut the military budget by at least 70%, and with the savings, we could afford to provide a college education to anyone who wanted it.

pace 6 years, 4 months ago

Good for Sara Sneath, I hope this is something the state will do. That is real support for our vets. It will draw good people to the state.

oldbaldguy 6 years, 4 months ago

I spent 22 years in the Army because I wanted to. Saw combat. Used Vietnam GI Bill to go to graduate school. No complaints. I am not a defender of DOD at all costs. I do resent comments by folks who may have not served about what or why someone else did. I agree we have always had enlistees from the lower economic ranks, that is the way of the world. Who do you think fought the Revoluntionary War in the Continental ranks? It was not the middle class or gentry unless they were officers.

I have come to expect derogatory comments from certain classes of people over the years about the folks that do serve. The DOD budget can be cut, but the troops that go out and serve their country for whatever reason need to be given the opportunity be normal again. If that means breaks for in state tutition. So be it. By the way, you are never normal again.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 4 months ago

OBG: Thanks for your service to us all.

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