After hearing Monday from two veterans who attend Kansas University, the House Education Budget Committee favorably recommended a bill that would allow all military veterans to pay the lower in-state tuition at any university in the Kansas Board of Regents system. Currently, military personnel and their families must have lived in the state for two years during their service and established a Kansas residence within 30 days of their discharge to qualify for in-state tuition.
Removing the residency requirements will increase the cost to the state, but attracting more veterans to Kansas universities has many benefits. Veterans often are highly motivated students who may be more likely to settle down in the state where they attend school. That helps build a strong work force for the state.
Perhaps even more important, it’s a good way to repay military veterans for the service they have provided to the country. They have given years of their lives, when they could have been settling down, going to school and starting a career, to protecting the United States and her people. Now, as they leave the service, they are faced with a tight job market and reductions in Department of Veterans Affairs benefits to offset tuition expenses.
We owe our veterans a helping hand. Offering them a tuition break at state universities is a good way to show our gratitude for their service.