Spouses of service members on active duty for a period of more than 30 days are now eligible to receive in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in the state where they reside or are permanently stationed. Once a spouse is enrolled and paying in-state tuition, they will continue to pay the in-state tuition rate as long as they remain continuously enrolled at the institution, even if the service member is reassigned outside the state.
This change in federal law is a tremendous help to military spouses, who often face paying out-of-state tuition rates to further their education. The new requirement benefiting military spouses was included in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (H.R. 4137), under section 135, and was signed into law on August 14, 2008. This new law extends the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), and applies to all public institutions that receive funds under the HEA program.
The Department of Education has worked with the institutions of higher education and is confident they are aware of the changes in the law and are fully implementing the policy. However, if military spouses have any difficulties establishing in-state tuition status, they should contact the offices of financial aid, registrar, or Veterans Affairs at the institution. It is important for families to understand that the Higher Education Opportunity Act does not require universities or colleges to offer in-state tuition rates for active duty, retired, or surviving families outside of their state. When an active duty family retires, they are eligible like any other citizen for in-state tuition in the state where they reside.
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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