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End Tuition Discrimination Against Veterans

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In 2003, I enlisted in the Air Force where I was trained as a medic.  I served all around the country as well as 4 years in Germany and 2 years in Pensacola.  After being honorably discharged from service, I knew I wanted to continue a career in medicine so I decided to pursue a degree in nursing.  Thanks to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, I would be able to pay for my tuition if I attended a public college or university.  Little did I know that my years of military service would in fact prevent me from benefiting from the GI Bill I was promised.


Three years ago I moved to New Orleans to attend Delgado Community College which is part of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.  I moved there just two months after leaving service.  Despite my three years of residency, the board and chancellor of my school denied my in-state residency, claiming that because I hadn't been employed in Louisiana for one year, I am an out-of-state student.  "Well you're a resident of Louisiana, just not for tuition purposes," said the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.  Thus, my GI Bill tuition benefits were worthless.  I'm charged tuition at the non-resident rate.  The out-of-state fees make my tuition double that of an in-state student.  The GI Bill does not pay the out-of-state costs.  I have to take out student loans to pay the difference and I loose well over $3,000/year of student loan money that could go towards other expenses like housing, transportation, books, groceries, etc.  


Essentially, because I constantly moved with the Air Force, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System is taking away the veterans benefits I rightfully earned in favor of unwritten policies that are left up to the discretion and judgment of the board and chancellor.  To me, that says I'm a resident of nowhere. All -- because of my service.


I am not the only veteran this is affecting.  More veterans at my school and veterans all across the country are having a difficult time proving their residency because of the unique circumstances revolving around military service.  


So I am calling on the Louisiana Community and Technical College System to pioneer a process that would make it easier and less stressful for veteran students to access the Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits they- we- rightfully earned.  And hopefully, other schools will then follow their lead.

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