The key to a future filled with family stability and success starts with a good education. We can help you better understand what the educational landscape looks like for military spouses, and how to make use of all the possible government and corporate financial support that is made available to you for your family’s service to our country. If you have any topics that you would like to see us write about, feel free to email the editor:
In-state vs. out-of-state tuition:What’s considered home for military students?

You’ve heard the saying, “Home is where the Army sends us,” right? But when it comes to higher education, “home” has been a relative term ... until now.

It’s hard enough to move every few years and start our children in new schools, but when we decide to further our own educations, the process can be more difficult. Unlike elementary schools, higher education facilities do not fit nicely into an outlined district based on latitude and longitude.

At universities, claiming in-state residency isn’t as simple as listing your address. In-state tuition requirements vary from school to school, often amounting to as much as 12 to 24 months of residency to qualify for lower tuition rates.

For spouses who want to start school when they arrive at a new duty station, it can be impossible to meet those requirements.

The good news: In 2008, a change to the Higher Education Opportunity Act provided that military spouses and dependent children receive the benefits of paying in-state tuition at public colleges and universities wherever they and their service members are physically stationed.

More good news: Military dependents may continue to pay in-state rates as long as they remain continuously enrolled in that school, even if the family moves. The changes apply only to service members on active-duty status for longer than 30 days. The rule does not include full-time National Guard duty.

The rule also does not apply to privately owned universities. These institutions set their own policies and must be contacted individually to address specific needs.

For schools that do fall under the provisions of the act, you may be required to complete and submit a tuition waiver form with the registrar’s office and attach a copy of the service member’s orders. It is also important to let your financial aid office know your status as a military dependent.

Students who encounter difficulties with the policy can contact the school’s registrar or veterans’ affairs office if they have one. The Ombudsman’s Office for the U.S. Department of Education also can offer assistance.

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For Military Spouses
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