Veterans would receive in-state tuition rates under residency bill

Recently separated veterans, their spouses and dependents would be eligible for in-state tuition under a bill advanced from general file Feb. 13.

Under LB740, as originally introduced by Bellevue Sen. Sue Crawford, veterans who have separated from a branch of the Armed Forces of the United States within the past two years would be eligible for in-state tuition.

To receive residency status, a veteran must demonstrate intent to become a permanent resident of the state by registering to vote and obtaining a state driver’s license.

An Education Committee amendment, adopted 38-0, replaced the bill and clarified that it would not apply to veterans who qualify for benefits under the Yellow Ribbon Program, which pays the difference in tuition and fees not covered under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Spouses and dependents of Yellow Ribbon benefit recipients still would be eligible under the bill.

Omaha Sen. Bob Krist supported the bill, saying that in the event of an economic downturn, providing these benefits could keep Offutt Air Force Base open.

“This is absolutely critical,” he said. “One factor can be the difference in a base closure. This would tip the balance in our favor.”

Senators voted to advance the bill on a 39-0 vote.

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