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Archive for Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bill providing in-state tuition for veterans revisited

February 3, 2013

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After almost four years of moving wherever the U.S. Navy sent him, Jeremy Filbert, 25, decided it was time to go to college. He made one last move, just across the Missouri state line in August 2011, to attend Kansas University.

Like many young veterans, Filbert is entitled to 100 percent of the funding available to him under the Post-9/11 GI Bill because he spent more than three years in the military after 9/11. He assumed those benefits would cover the bulk of his bills, so he didn’t initially concern himself with the price of tuition. But three semesters later, Filbert has paid more than $32,000 in nonresident tuition fees to KU.

“I’ve been to all sorts of places. And to come back and to have to pay out of pocket on top of the fact that I have to use my (GI Bill) benefits is irritating,” Filbert said. “I don’t think any veteran should have to pay more than what the GI Bill is willing to pay.”

Filbert has plans to settle in Kansas after he graduates in 2014 with a degree in political science, and eventually wants to run for state office.

A Kansas House bill providing in-state tuition for all veterans lost momentum and died during last year’s legislative session, but Rep. Melanie Meier, D-Leavenworth, believes a revised version of House Bill 2652 is likely to pass in the coming months.

Meier is working with members of KU’s Collegiate Veterans Association on the new draft of the bill, originally introduced by Reps. Paul Davis and Barbara Ballard, both Lawrence Democrats.

Meier said HB 2652 is a “feel-good bill” most legislators support. Despite widespread backing in Topeka, the measure failed to pass through the 2012 legislative session because of another issue. The bill’s content made it a vehicle for an amendment to repeal the state law that allows students whose parents brought them to Kansas illegally to pay in-state college tuition. A measure to repeal that law was introduced as a separate bill last week, increasing the likelihood of HB 2652’s smooth passage.

Meier and members of the KU Collegiate Veterans Association are drafting a second version of veterans’ tuition bill that will go before the Education Budget Committee soon.

Opponents say the bill will cost the state money in lost tuition; however, Meier said no one is able to calculate an exact amount because it is impossible to predict how many veterans the bill would attract.

If passed, members of the Collegiate Veterans Association say, the bill will encourage veterans to settle permanently in Kansas, a benefit the organization said will far outweigh any loss of tuition revenue.

Kansas currently allows veterans to pay in-state tuition if they’re prior residents of Kansas who return permanently to the state after fewer than five years of service or if they have a family member on active duty stationed in Kansas.

Veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill can receive up to $420.05 per credit hour at a Kansas public university. KU’s nonresident tuition fees are $762 per credit hour. Nonresident veterans currently have to pay the difference of nearly $342. The university’s in-state tuition fee is $263 per credit hour.

“I don’t think a school should ever charge a veteran, regardless of his residency, out-of-state tuition. The U.S. is our home,” Filbert said.

Comments

Benjamin Roberts 1 year, 10 months ago

Amazing.

A veteran of the United State's military is not privileged with in-state tuition rates. Yet, a student in violation of federal immigration laws - whether willingly or by parental action - is given in-state tuition rates.

Whether, or not, the "undocumented students" in-state tuition is repealed (http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/jan...), the state should support veterans via in-state tuition.

Bob_Keeshan 1 year, 10 months ago

Yes, it is a shame the Republican legislature has blocked this bill.

DGunz 1 year, 10 months ago

I was one of the CVA members to introduce the bill this past week. The immigration issue has recently been tackled in a separate bill and we are hoping that this revised bill won't meet with the same resistance as last year's. Thanks for your support!

lawslady 1 year, 10 months ago

K.S.A. 76-731a already allows in state tuition ratrs for any current active or retired military and their families who are living in Ks (for less than the 12 months normally required). This bill doesn't change that. What it does is give this in state tuition to veterans and their families even if none of them have ever set foot in Ks. Just fyi.

lawslady 1 year, 10 months ago

Copy of new bill (last session) that would expand the in-state tuition rate to any member of the military (past or present) and any spouse/dependents irrespective of whether they live in Kansas or ever have - http://www.kslegislature.org/li_2012/b2011_12/measures/hb2652/

Copy of current Kansas law that allows members of the military/veterans and their families to get in-state tuition of they are living in Kansas. http://www.kslegislature.org/li_2012/b2011_12/statute/076_000_0000_chapter/076_007_0000_article/076_007_0031a_section/076_007_0031a_k/ and KBOR regulation on that statute http://www.kansasregents.org/resources/PDF/1536-88-3-8aMilitarypersonnel.pdf

webmocker 1 year, 10 months ago

So many politicians trip over themselves to pontificate and spend money freely to "support our troops" as long as we are sending those soldiers somewhere to risk being injured or die, but when those soldiers come home, well, we don't really care that much, do we?

tolawdjk 1 year, 10 months ago

Personally, I think any special circumstance exemption to instate residency requirements should be tied to a post graduation residency requirement.

Say 6 months per semester. Not everyone would come to school here with the idea that they would stay here, and "feel good" or not, an education isn't free. 4 Years of undergrad would mean 4 yrs of post KS residency or a payback of the differential.

DGunz 1 year, 10 months ago

Couldn't the same argument then be made that veterans aren't getting free education; that they've already paid for it with their service? The whole point of this bill is to promote the military friendliness of Kansas in the hopes that veterans will bring their families here while they attend school. Veterans with families are more likely to have permanent residency wherever they graduate from.

DGunz 1 year, 10 months ago

Another point is that there are many educational benefits that veterans can qualify for (not to mention the usually scholarships and grants that anyone can apply for), so if a veteran pays less because they have in-state residency then that unused balance can be used to enter graduate school. That adds another 2 years at least, not to mention that grad school usually involves an internship or the such which could lead to a job with that company.

DGunz 1 year, 10 months ago

Thank you for showing your support. I agree that all veterans should get in-state tuition in all 50 states, in fact, the House of Representatives introduced H.R. 357 which hopefully does just that!

DGunz 1 year, 10 months ago

I believe that taxes are a good thing, and not paying income or state taxes is something I would never request. This would be counterproductive to the practice of veterans' education being paid for by the taxpayer. However, I would like to remind you that it was veteran educational benefits, such as the Montgomery GI Bill, that created the middle class in the first place. So not all incentive programs increase the separation between classes.

tomatogrower 1 year, 10 months ago

“I don’t think a school should ever charge a veteran, regardless of his residency, out-of-state tuition. The U.S. is our home,” Filbert said.

I do agree that states should not charge veterans out-of-state tuition, but because they are veterans and have little choice where they are stationed, not because they live in the US. State tax dollars support state universities, so state tax payers come first. I would definitely prefer if these veterans would make a promise to stay in the state afterwards as well.

DGunz 1 year, 10 months ago

Actually, the state universities receive a large amount of their revenue from federally-funded assistance programs, for instance, tuition assistance for active duty members. The positive for the university is that they receive this money in one lump sum, generally soon after the semester starts. If you compare that to a normal student, it could take years before the school is paid-in-full. And I think if you make veterans say "I promise" to stay, then you have to require the same of those who already get in-state tuition. On average, normal college students are more likely to leave the state they graduated college in than veterans.

DGunz 1 year, 10 months ago

This is neither true nor incorrect. Veteran points don't determine whether or not you are more qualified for a job than an average citizen. They only guarantee that the veteran's resume will be evaluated before a hiring decision is made. For example, I have 5 veterans preference points, and the job I'm applying for is one I have an advanced skill set for. If another veteran with, say, 10 or 15 preference points applies for the same job, the employer is required by federal law to at least look over the other vet's resume before making a decision. If I don't have a skill set that the job requires and an average citizen does, my preference points do not constitute any advantage that would compensate for my lack of expertise. In summary, it's the skills that one learns while in the military that determines which jobs they may get.

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