Public universities in 17 states offer in-state tuition rates to military veterans, but, unfortunately, Florida isn’t one of them. That could change during the 2014 session of the Florida Legislature, when two bills will be offered waiving out-of-state rates for veterans who wish to enroll at any institution in the State University System. This proposal failed last year, but support for it is gaining steam among education leaders statewide, so it could be enacted into law. In recent weeks, FSU President Eric Barron and USF President Judy Genshaft have both come out strongly in favor of it. Put FAU down in the “yes” column as well.
We pride ourselves on offering comprehensive services to veterans who enroll at our university. In fact, FAU has been recognized by both G.I. Jobs magazine and Military Times as one of the nation’s most military-friendly schools. But those services mean nothing to veterans who can’t enroll because they can’t afford to pay out-of-state tuition. These men and women put their lives on the line for us, sometimes sustaining grave physical and psychological injuries that will be with them forever. Now we need to step up to the plate and do something meaningful for them. What could be more meaningful than making a college education affordable for them, regardless of their state of residency?
It’s time to take down the tuition barrier that is keeping many veterans from enrolling at Florida universities. The new policy will benefit not only them, but our entire state by bringing some really good people down here. Go Veteran Owls!