By Rep. Curtis Johnson
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Legislation allowing veterans who relocate to the state after military service to receive in-state tuition rates at Tennessee higher education institutions garnered full support from House lawmakers this week as the bill passed the full House of Representatives.
The Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) Act encourages enrollment of veterans at Tennessee public colleges and removes many of the burdensome hurdles associated with veterans reentering the academic world after serving in our nation’s military.
Currently, discharged veterans who choose to relocate back to Tennessee after service must pay out-of-state tuition rates until residency is formally established. Under the VETS legislation, veterans enrolling within 24 months of discharge immediately receive Tennessee’s in-state college tuition rate.
The Act also creates a “VETS Campus” designation to recognize and promote schools that make veteran enrollment a priority. Higher education institutions that satisfy veteran-friendly criteria, such as specialized orientation and the availability of mentoring programs, can receive the designation.
The bill now awaits final signature from Governor Bill Haslam before becoming law.