Legislature needs to act quickly on veterans tuition

This not only costs veterans money they can't afford to spend, it could cost them (and their families) their future:

The GI Bill last year quit paying the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition for veterans attending public colleges and universities. The veterans were told to pay the difference.

That's an extra $19,826 per year (UNC-CH) out of some pretty shallow pockets. In other words, they either won't be able to attend, or they'll have to take on crushing debt to do so. If the General Assembly fails to act, it's the same thing as saying "Your service and sacrifice mean nothing to us." And while we're on the subject of sacrifice:

The suicide rate among the nation’s active-duty military personnel has spiked this year, eclipsing the number of troops dying in battle and on pace to set a record annual high since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more than a decade ago, the Pentagon said Friday.

Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, called suicides among active-duty military personnel “the tip of the iceberg.” He cited a survey the group conducted this year among its 160,000 members that found that 37 percent knew someone who had committed suicide.

Mr. Rieckhoff attributed the rise in military suicides to too few qualified mental health professionals, aggravated by the stigma of receiving counseling and further compounded by family stresses and financial problems. The unemployment rate among military families is a particular problem, he said.

“They are thinking about combat, yeah, but they are also thinking about their wives and kids back home,” he said.

No doubt this change in the GI Bill has been an added punch in the gut for our troops who are trying to envision a future after the bullets stop flying.

The Legislature has not just an opportunity, but a responsibility to give them something positive to look forward to.

Comments

Go to an instate school

Then the vets can go to a state school where they live.Problem solved.The taxpayers have no responsibility to pay for your education out of state.

Good thinking

and while we're at it, let's make sure those active duty service members know which damn state they're fighting to protect.

Oh, I forgot. They're working to protect the whole country.

Mr. Spoon, you're thinking with the wrong end of whatever utensil you're swagging these days. A few moments of careful reflection before you slide into your knee jerk reactions would serve us all better ... especially you. For example, why not require public colleges and universities to guarantee veterans will always pay in-state tuition no matter what state they're from? They all get federal funding. We could simply make it a requirement.

vets and out of state tuition

You know, I have to agree with mrpoon. If lack of money prevents a vet from attending university or community college, then they should take the initiative to return to their state of residence - or not! To say that this will force a veteran to stop their own education is a pretty wimpy argument. It's all about CHOICES.
Unfortunately for our vets, they have all unwittingly been serving the 1%, and doing NOTHING to make our world a 'safer place' with their cumulative choices. We have fewer freedoms and Many more enemies worldwide since we decided to invade the sovereign nation of Iraq. Now we ALL have to pay the price for the actions of the 'few, the proud' and their buddies.
When you decide to take up arms, you have a moral obligation to understand the repercussions of your actions.
Stick another ribbon on your gas guzzling SUV! See if that help those vets you claim to care about.

Wimpy argument

Just so you know, that "wimpy argument" came from personal experience. And yes, there were people like you around when I was struggling with these issues, but I didn't write them off like you've written off veterans. I put on the green for every single one of you.

State Taxes

Or maybe they could claim NC as their state of residence while in the military and pay some state taxes, instead of claiming Florida or some other state that has no state income tax while in service.

Support the troops....

Our returning veterans live in a world of rampant suicide, and their families face the prospect of domestic violence. If we are not going to provide them comprehensive mental health services, not to mention free medical care for life, we certainly can't expect the austerians to pay for their education.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

I reviewed the three bills...

S940, H1168, and H1176...

To live up to our slogan as the nation's most military-friendly state, the bills fall short in that the extension of in-state tuition to veterans would apply only if the veteran's last permanent duty station was in North Carolina, and the veteran's abode is in North Carolina. Furthermore, the bills would apply only to veterans discharged after July 1, 2011.

The bills are a step in the right direction, but don't go nearly far enough. We need to welcome veterans to our state, and encourage honorably discharged veterans to continue their education in North Carolina.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

I think the July 2011 thing

is due to the fact that once veterans have lived here for a year (after discharge), they become eligible for in-state tuition rates anyway.

State of Residency

Or they could declare NC as their state of residency and pay state taxes here their last year or two in the military instead of dodging state taxes by declaring Florida or other states with no state income taxes as their state of residency.