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How Can I Establish Residency in Kentucky So That I Can Pay In-State Tuition for School?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Good morning Sgt. Maj. My name is Nicholas and I have a tough situation on my hands. I am currently still on active duty, but only have 45 days left of active duty. My parents are originally from Kentucky but live in Oklahoma due to my father being stationed there before he retired from the Air Force. My family is moving back to Kentucky to take care of my grandparents as they are ill and unable to do so themselves and I am going with them. Is there any way I can establish residency in Kentucky so that I can pay in-state tuition for school? And if so, would you please explain to me what all I have to do to accomplish this and start school as soon as I can. I have served 2 tours in Afghanistan, but I’m unsure if that will permit me any waivers or benefits Thank you.

A: Because you are still on active duty, your two tours in Afghanistan won’t either hurt or help you as you would already have 100% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. As far as residency, most states require that you live in them for at least one year before you can claim residency, however, that doesn’t mean that you still can’t go to school and have to pay all of the difference between resident and non-resident tuition.

In the Post 9/11 GI Bill there is a feature called the Yellow Ribbon Program and one of its uses is to help pay for out-state tuition. The key to using it is to choose a school that has a Yellow Ribbon agreement with the VA.

Here is how it works. If you attend a public school, the Post 9/11 GI Bill pays up to the resident undergraduate tuition. The difference between the resident and non-resident is where the Yellow Ribbon Program comes in. Under the agreement with the VA, your school can pay up to 50% of the difference left between the two tuition’s. The VA will pay an equal amount.

So, in theory, the whole difference could be wiped out and it wouldn’t cost you anything. However, your school may have committed to a lesser percentage that 50%. In that case you would have some difference left that you would have to pay out-of-pocket. The trick is to choose a Yellow Ribbon School that has a high degree of support; you can find all that information in the Yellow Ribbon list.

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