Military veterans obtain the in-state tuition benefits through establishing domicile in Virginia but Virginia waives the one year waiting period that is required of all other new residents.
What is Domicile?
A standard way to receive the in-state tuition rate at a Commonwealth college or university is for the student to establish domicile in Virginia. Domicile means the "intent to remain" within the state; your state of domicile is what is commonly referred to as your "home state." Once a person has been domiciled in Virginia, they can be considered for most financial benefits reserved for state residents, including in-state tuition and state financial aid.
How can a former military member establish domicile?
To establish domicile in Virginia, former military members must provide clear and convincing evidence to the institution that they intend to remain in Virginia. This could include, but is not necessarily limited to, having a physical presence in the state and changing personal records to Virginia. Once domicile has been established, the member as well as the dependent spouse and children can be reviewed for financial benefits reserved for state residents, including in-state tuition and state financial aid.
How soon can a former military member become eligible?
Eligibility for the in-state tuition rate normally requires that the student must wait one year after establishing domicile; however, if former military personnel establish domicile in Virginia, they are not subject to the standard one-year waiting period. Instead, they and their dependents can obtain resident benefits, such as in-state tuition and consideration for state financial aid, as of the next academic term following the confirmed date of domicile. Persons qualifying under this provision still must successfully complete the domicile review process.
What are the options if the veteran does not have domiciliary intent?
Veterans residing primarily for educational purposes are generally not considered to be domiciled in Virginia; however, Virginia has an exception provision that still permits the veteran to receive the in-state tuition rate. To qualify, the veteran must reside in Virginia and be discharged from the military for reasons other than "dishonorable."
Who can benefit from the veteran exception provision?
This provision is available to veterans for educational terms that begin July 1, 2013 or thereafter. It is available only to the veteran and does not extend the benefit to family members.
What is required to verify eligibility for the veteran exception provision?
Proof of residency and a copy of the DD-214 are generally all that is needed for verification.
Veterans utilizing the GI Bill have the in-state tuition and fees covered at most Commonwealth institutions, but there may still be financial gaps. To bridge these gaps, many institutions participate in the GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program and provide additional resources to the student.
For more information, visit the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ List of Yellow Ribbon Programs in Virginia.
Family Members of Certain Veterans
The Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program provides education benefits to spouses and children of military service members from Virginia killed, missing in action, taken prisoner, or who became at least 90% disabled as a result of military service in an armed conflict. Virginia waives tuition and fees at public institutions and provides a stipend, based on available funds, for other educational expenses.
For more information, visit the Virginia Department of Veterans Services.