(Bluefield)-- Bluefield State College will offer in-state tuition rates for qualifying military veterans attending BSC, beginning in July, 2015. Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law earlier this year the Veterans Access, Choice And Accountability Act of 2014. This bill grants veterans and their families the right to in-state tuition at public colleges and universities regardless of where the service or family member is currently living, but only if they are using GI Bill money.
Aimed primarily at improving veterans' access to health care, the law allows any veteran who has served at least 90 days of active service to pay resident tuition rates in any state within three years of leaving the military. The law also covers spouses and dependent children of veterans meeting certain criteria. Effective July 1, 2015, the law would apply to any public college or university receiving federal funding through the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
“Student veterans have spent their careers defending the United States, and we demonstrate our appreciation for that service by ensuring they have access to an affordable education,” noted Dr. Marsha Krotseng, BSC President. In August, 2014, Bluefield State College became West Virginia's first four-year public higher institution to affirm the U.S. Department of Education's “8 Keys to Veterans' Success.” The “8 Keys” focus on educational success as a priority for our nation's military veterans and highlight specific ways that colleges and universities can support veterans as they pursue their education and employment goals.
Veterans and veterans' advocates applaud the measure, which will help alleviate the problem of veterans failing to qualify for in-state tuition after leaving the military because they have been required to move for their service.
This bill will not change veterans' and families' status when applying for school loans and scholarships. The GI Bill is not considered Federal Financial Aid and thus federal loans are still an available option. There are four main loans and grants:
1. Stafford (subsidized)
2. Stafford (unsubsidized)
3. Pell Grant
4. Federal Student Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
Eligibility for most federal student aid is based on financial need along with several other factors. It is well worth it to look into these options as well as scholarships.
Individuals seeking additional information are encouraged to contact: Mr. Tom Ilse, Director of Financial Aid at 304-327-4022 or Marviene Johnson, Senior Records Officer, Registrar's Office at 304-327-4063.