– The House unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) to provide in-state tuition rates at community colleges and state-related/state-owned institutions for veterans, their spouses and dependent children.
Barrar, who is chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, said that House Bill 131
is imperative because it would ensure that veterans and their families who qualify for GI Bill education benefits are charged in-state tuition rates in Pennsylvania despite the enactment of a federal law last fall.
The federal law dictates that if a college or university only charges the in-state tuition rates to veterans who are residents of Pennsylvania and not out-of-state veterans, the school will be deemed noncompliant with the federal law. The federal government will not send any education benefit money to the noncompliant schools for the veterans including those who are already enrolled and using their education benefits.
Colleges and universities have until July 1 of this year to come into compliance with the federal law. Otherwise, veterans and their families may be forced to borrow money to attend a noncompliant school or attend a school deemed compliant.
“Laws that establish programs that provide benefits to veterans are always positive, including the federal law enacted last year,” said Barrar. “However, I wanted to more completely support our veterans. My bill would make it mandatory for veterans to permanently receive in-state tuition rates, regardless of their state of residency.
“Veterans have earned these education benefits, and now we in Pennsylvania want to promise them that they can use their benefits in this state,” Barrar said. “I believe in this promise to our service members and their families, and I look forward to the passage of this bill by the Senate.”
House Bill 131 is currently in the Senate for consideration.
Representative Stephen E. Barrar
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Evans