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I’m Being Told the Post 9/11 GI Bill Does Not Pay Out-State Tuition – Is It True?

Q: I recently completed my four years with the Marines. I was a North Carolina resident when I joined and stationed in Hawaii. While I was gone, my family moved to South Carolina and I now live with them. I’m trying to attend school in SC, but they are telling me that the Post 9/11 GI Bill will only pay the in-state tuition costs, and that for this particular school that is about $1,600. The tuition they are making me pay is over $4,000. I thought the GI Bill paid the max tuition for whatever the most expensive public school in the state was, now this community college that only costs 4 grand is going to make me pay out of my pocket, this is outrageous, is something wrong?

A: Actually the way the rules read, the Post 9/11 GI Bill pays up to 100% of the resident tuition costs at a public school, or up to $19,198.31 per year at a private school. Because you have not established residency in South Carolina yet, that is why they are charging you the non-resident tuition rate.

You are right, it is outrageous and right now, there is a bill in Congress that would level this playing field – all veterans would be charged the resident rate regardless of residency. However, as of this writing, that bill has not passed yet, but with the support it has, most experts think it will pass.

Another thing to look into that may help pay the difference in costs is the Yellow Ribbon program. If your school has an agreement with the VA, they could pay up to 50% of the difference with the VA paying an equal amount (in addition to the resident tuition they already paid to your school). In theory, this would wipe out all of the difference.

However, your school may have opted for a less percentage, which would then leave a small amount left for you to pay, or they may not be a Yellow Ribbon Program participant.

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