Columbus - 

State Representative Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) today applauded the passage of House Bill 449 by the Ohio House. The legislation gives veterans greater access to higher education by prohibiting state institutions of higher learning from applying any residency-related restrictions to the admission application of a qualified veteran or the veteran’s spouse or dependent.

The current law states that a veteran or a veteran’s spouse shall be considered in-state for the purposes of tuition if certain conditions are met. Unfortunately, this residency rule, does not apply to a veteran or their spouse until they are accepted to the school, meaning that their application to school may still be treated the same as an out-of-state student. This treatment in some cases may adversely impact the veteran’s ability to gain entrance to a state institution of higher education.

“The idea for this bill was brought to me by the son of one of my constituents, who was applying to a state school from out-of-state,” said Representative Gonzales.  “The institution had a policy that only so many out-of-state students could be admitted to the program to which this gentleman was applying. The young man cited the fact that he was a veteran and he should be treated as an in-state student during application. The institution refused and said, he was considered out-of-state their by admission policy, but if he were accepted, they would only charge him an in-state rate, which is all Ohio requires of them.”

Under HB 449, any limit an institution may have on accepting out-of-state applicants could not apply to a veteran, or the veteran's spouse or dependent. That applicant would receive the same consideration the state institution of higher education would give to an in-state applicant.

Rep. Gonzales said, “This bill brings clarity to the Ohio GI Promise passed in 2008 and gives greater accesses to education for our veterans, many of whom are desperately seeking degrees to gain employment.”

The bill keeps states that the veteran must fit one of the below requirements for the veteran, spouse, or dependent to qualify for the exemption:

  • Served one or more years of active duty military duty and be honorable discharged or received a service-related medical discharge.

  • Been killed while serving on active duty or had been declared to be missing in action or a prisoner of war.

House Bill 449 will now go to the Ohio Senate for consideration.

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