I don’t know why there should be any problem, plenty of public universities offer in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Don’t veterans deserve as much if not better?

Michael Stratford of Inside Higher Ed reported.

Veterans vs. Land Grants

As Congressional lawmakers seek to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of Veterans Affairs Department reform legislation, one provision on the negotiating table has sparked a clash between veterans groups and public universities.

Part of the Senate-passed bill would, in effect, require public universities to offer in-state tuition to any veteran within three years after he or she comes off active duty. It would also extend that benefit to spouses and dependents.

Under the bill, states or institutions that don’t make those changes to their in-state tuition policies would be unable to continue to accept federal veterans educational benefits.

Veterans’ advocates say the provision is needed because of the transient nature of military deployments, veterans often have difficulty meeting the residency requirements that would qualify them to pay the in-state tuition – often a difference of tens of thousands of dollars. Several publicized cases of veterans being denied in-state tuition have prompted many states to change their policies.

But the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities say the changes will reduce federal funding to their institutions, which are already cash-strapped in the wake of state budget cuts over the past several years.

Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program, colleges and universities can enter into an agreement with the VA to fund the gap between a veteran’s GI Bill benefits and the tuition and fees (in excess of the most expensive in-state public university tuition rate). Universities can fund up to 50 percent of that cost and receive a matching federal grant to cover the rest.

By awarding in-state tuition to veterans, public universities would essentially be picking up the tab for those veterans’ education without any matching federal money.