CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – In his newsletter for the week of February 14, Tennessee State Representative Curtis Johnson stated his support for legislation that he believes will create “a statewide support structure that offers in-state tuition rates for veterans pursuing higher education in Tennessee.”
The Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) Act is scheduled for a vote in the House Education Committee next week. It is intended to encourage the enrollment of veterans and to help them achieve higher education.
Currently, recently-discharged veterans relocating to Tennessee must pay out-of-state tuition rates until residency is formally established. Under the VETS Act, veterans enrolling within 24 months of discharge immediately receive the in-state tuition rate when starting college classes, eliminating the issue of residency for those relying on GI Bill benefits. To maintain in-state status and rates, veterans have one year to present proof of established residency, such as a driver’s license, motor vehicle registration or proof of employment. Registering to vote also fulfills the requirement.
The Act also creates a “VETS Campus” designation to recognize and promote schools that make veteran enrollment a priority. Institutions that satisfy veteran-friendly criteria such as specialized orientation and the availability of mentoring programs can receive the designation.
According to Rep. Johnson, the economic development component to the program is that it will bring students to the state who will become educated and skilled workers.
The Senate sponsor for the VETS Act is Senator Mark Norris of Collierville. The act has already passed the Senate Education Committee and will soon be scheduled for a vote on the Senate Floor.
For more information about the Tennessee General Assembly, visit the official website