Pennsylvania Passes Veterans In-State Tuition Bill

veterans in-state tuition

Benjamin KrausePennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill providing all veterans in-state tuition that includes family members. It guarantees in-state tuition for some veteran in curtain situations.

The bill requires on year of residency prior to entitlement taking hold and the veteran must have GI Bill entitlement remaining. The new legislation will force compliance by state colleges and universities by holding federal education funding hostage should they fail to comply.

On the one hand, any bill supporting veterans to attend college is good. On the other hand, this is yet another bill that discriminates between post-9/11 veterans and pre-9/11 veterans. Haven’t we reached a point in our society where all veterans should be treated equally?

According to the Daily Local News:

Barrar reintroduced the legislation in January. He said the bill was “tied up” with the state education committee due to concerns of cost and impact on the budget.

Representatives from the House Appropriations Committee noted in a memo dated Feb. 2, that there are no fiscal costs connected to amending the legislation.

Barrar said he is confident the Senate majority will move the bill onto Congress.

State Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-26, of Springfield, said he would support the bill. He said the amendment “makes it easier for veterans and their families to get a college education.”

Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-9,of Chester, is another senatorial supporter of the bill.

“It’s a simple, effective way to help the men and women of the armed services who give so much to defend our country,” he said in a prepared statement. “I’m optimistic that the Senate will take up this bill in the near future.”


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  1. Lawmakers should first issue a GI Bill to all the veterans that were denied from having one between 1977-1985 because of a gov’t SNAFU before it starts extending educational benefits to veterans who already have a GI Bill or to coat-tailers who never served a day.

  2. Most every state in the U.S. require you to be a resident in their state for one year in order to qualify for in-state tuition status in their school system. I read about veterans being able to attend school. in any state without paying out-of-state tuition some months ago, and was to begin this year. ALL STATES. According to above article, PA is saying you have to be a resident for a year in their state. Either the article is wrong above, or PA isn’t doing something right. People should stay away from this state then.

  3. Favoring post 9/11 vets over pre-9/11 vets means we as a nation need to give back everything that was gained by winning WW2. And, we need to hand S. Korea over to N. Korea, ask Vietnam to stop acting like a capitalist society, apologize for winning the Cold War against the USSR, and then apologize for going to war against Iraq in the First Gulf War. To be sincere, everyone behind splitting vets into these two groups really needs to learn to speak some foreign language like German, Japanese, Korean, etc., to make their age discrimination case against the Old Guard a little stronger.

  4. We are fighting this bill in Pennsylvania as it was made to serve only Afghani-Iraq post 911 veterans here in Pennsylvania This is what was hidden by Rep Barrer by stating one must have time left on their GI Bill , That makes only GI Bill veterans who are Afghani-Iraq veterans eligible..

    Of course his office – He is chair of the Pa House Veterans Affairs Committee is telling people in Chadds Ford Pa the hell with other veterans tying it too GI Bill eligibility… Tuition at state school in state versus out of state has nothing to do what with “Gi Bill eligibility” which then coraletes directly post 911 veterans only This is discrimination at its finest just like the age discrimination and unconstitutionality of the VA family caregivers program of 1014 Once again pre911 veterans are left behind !!

    We in Pennsylvania are writing our Berks County and other senators to amend the legislation in the sea net veterans affairs committee

    Everyone should write their Pennsylvania senators to amend the bill to include all honorably discharged veterans of all eras

    Lee Horowitz M.Ed, CAGS
    [email protected]

    1. Lee, I don’t know if this still holds true for WA residents now but when I was working for the college I attended in WA and I also worked as a work-study any veteran that was a WA resident for a yr. or more could get the in state tuition rate and it did not matter what bill they were using or if they were paying out of pocket to go.
      The 20% discount did not apply to the chap. 33 (post/911 bill) as the VA was paying for the tuition so the college made the VA pay for full tuition. I know that I have done the paperwork to get some vets who had no kind of bill to go off of and were paying out of pocket to get them the 20% discount.
      I am in agreement with you on the law should have nothing in it related to having anything left on any type of bill. It should go off of if you served, if you were in combat, and that is all. I feel that it should not be both. Either one should get an in state tuition rate. I still believe that if you served in combat that your education should be free at a community college and your spouse and dependents should get a discount if you served in combat. It only seems fair to me. The vet has given so much that our country should help him/her out the best we can.
      I hope you can do something on this and get what you should be getting.

      1. The Bill has not passed the senate yet in Pennsylvania In Pennsylvania veterans can get the Pennsylvania Grant formerly called PHEAA which is not based on any financial need for veterans While such grant maybe less for colleges attended out of state , it basically pays most college tuition and or books, supplies , etc

        This piece of legislation , house bill 131 applies solely to in state and out of state tuition at 14 pennsylvania state sponsored colleges and would allow in state rates for any veteran eligible for the GI Bill having such benefits left. That is a joke as that means only afghan and iraq veterans are eligible for this bill The sponsor conventely wrote out all veterans from the befit by putting in all eligible veterans receiving GI Bill benefits or that have such benefits left

        As you know this locks out all pre 911 veterans before iraq-afghanisatn Such is age discrimination against pre 911 veterans It should be for all honorably discharged veterans just as the state grant not based on financial need is for all honorably discharged pennsylvania veterans that resided in Pennsylvania ( via DD214 at time of entry into US service)

        It is imperative all veterans demand that the bill include that all honorably discharged veterans of all eras be included wether they do or do not have GI bill be eligible for this in state tuition at Pennsylvania 14 state funded colleges/universities.

        Call: to amend HOuse Bill 131 in Pennsylvania to include all honorably discharged veterans

        Pa Educational Senate Chair Smucker at 717-787-6535
        Pa Co Chair Senator Mike Folmer at 717-7875708
        Pa committee member Anthony Williams -Philadelphia
        Senator Randy Vulkavich- 717-787-6538
        Senator David Argall – 717-787-2637

        and all State Senators in Pennsylvania

        Thank you

        Lee Horowitz, M.Ed, CAGS
        US Navy , Vietnam Era disabled veteran
        [email protected]

    2. Lee, I would be curious what PA offers to illegal aliens for tuition…in state or out of state tuition. When I moved to CO a few years ago, my son could not attend college here without waiting a year, which would have put him behind about 1.5 years because of the timing. That same year, politicians here pandering to illegal aliens passed legislation allowing them in-state tuition. My son moved back to WI so he could pay in-state tuition.

  5. Ben

    You need to do further research on this bill ….I checked with Barrer’s office here in Pennsylvania It is only for veterans who have the GI bill and thus only for Iraqi-Afghnai veterans only !!

    What it does is allow these veterans to get the tuition rate of the 14 in sate Pennsylvania colleges . Even then I am told its now based on a % base of in state tuition so many may not see full in state tuition.

    I was nto happy at all with what I was told as it discriminates against – all pre911 veteran living outside of Pennsylvania who dod not have and lost their GI bill . As you know many never got to use their GI bill for various reasons.

    I asked as an example about a veteran who did not have GI bill eligibility having to resettle lets say in pennsylvania Why wouldn’t he or she be eligible The answer i got was well its only for those veterans having GI Bill eligibility- Iraq-Afghanistan vets Once again pre911 veterans get the shaft just like they did with the VA Family Caregivers Act of 2014 you need to report on.. Why is it that our legislators seem to always leave post911 veterans out of any legislation I call it age discrimination !! Also the selfishness of veteran groups such as wounded arrears who serve only ppost911 veterans while alluding to the public for donations they serve “all wounded warriors” THis is the new scenario in the veterans community and as well has been the issues in the disability community I served and why I left ( infighting on advocacy -money issues) Its exactly what politicians and our government loves to split groups up as well as funding.

    I say of you want wars then fund them and fund the veterans with the very very best medical care and benefits Don’t short change those who have served !!

    Lee Horowitz, M.Ed, CAGS
    US Navy- Disabled Vietnam Era Veteran
    Veterans Advocate/ Veterans civil rights advocate
    [email protected]

  6. When I worked at Skagit Valley college in WA the one yr. rule was in place there. This was back in ’11 and it still may apply. The law was a yr. of being a resident and a veteran and his family could get the in state rate. They also had a 20% reduction on that rate for any veteran who was in combat. I liked that law; however, I always thought that a vet should get the in state tuition rate no matter what his residency status was and they should get free tuition if they saw combat.
    I also feel that the Education part of the VA has breeched their contract with us vets’ by changing the way they pay for the education fur us vets’. the VA first started to pay and the pay would continue as long as the veteran registered for the next quarter before the end of the current quarter (if attending and currently enrolled in college). That was later changed to paying for only while in college. This resulted in the veteran having a change in his payment that some could not handle. they were used to getting a set amount while attending every month and now they have to watch the beginning of the quarter and the end of the quarter. These payment would be reduced by the number of days in the quarter that they attended. While they were not attending college they would have no payment coming in and this caused a financial hardship on the vet. We had many vets who would have a problem of paying for their college tuition (many on Chap. 30) and they either had to find the money, take out a loan (the college charged $30 to loan the tuition an required at least 40% of the tuition paid before the start of the quarter), or drop out. For a while the Veterans’ Education office tried to help the vet by getting a waiver of payment until the vet received his first payment. I am not sure they do that now as the office has taken a dramatic turn of who is in charge of the office and as a result it has become a very unfriendly vet college.
    This is just my opinion and I am hopeful that vets are being taken care of while attending college.

  7. Ben

    I live in Pennsylvania !!. I do know that the old PHEAA Pennsylvania Higher Educational Assistance Grant was not based on financial need for veterans . Neither did one have to file a BEOG or federal grant to get the state grant.. Thus any veteran, even one that had lost his GI bill .could get such and this basically covers tuition and books at most in state colleges. One could also get this while on VA Vocrehab Chapter 131.

    My question is this. Does this mean that veterans dependents i.e. wife and children are now eligible on the same basis as veterans themselves without a financial need??Also as to what age are children/dependents also eligible for such??

    The Pennsylvania Grant Program is great since it was not based on financial need and thus you dont have to put down your financial information for all veterans in Pennsylvania Especially those who lost GI bill benefits Its only good for up to 4 years of undergraduate work or a vocational program.

    I hope you will also talk about another program that all people with disabilities can get fro college or retaining /vocational training . That is the state office of vocational rehabilitation in every state. This is for retraining from an injury occurred at work with college or a new vocational training program which must ( as with Chapter 31 VA VocRehab) be compatible with ones disability. It also provides college or vocational training for people on SSI and SSDI as well. It pays all tuition, all books, supplies and may pay some medical to keep people in the training/college program and allows people to also collect their SSI or SSDI.

    Hope this helps Ben smile

    Lee Horowitz, M.Ed, CAGS
    US Navy – Vietnam Era Disabled Veteran
    Veterans advocate and disability rights advocate
    [email protected]

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