In addition, specify that the spouse or child of a disabled veteran who was not a resident of this state at the time of entry into service but who has lived in this state for five consecutive years immediately preceding the semester in which the spouse or child of a disabled veteran enrolls would only be eligible for a remission of tuition and fees if the spouse or child has also lived in this state for five consecutive years immediately preceding enrollment. Specify that the unremarried surviving spouse or child of a deceased veteran who was not a resident of the this state at the time of entry into service but who had lived in the state for at least five consecutive years while aged 18 or older would only be eligible for a remission of tuition and fees if the spouse or child has lived in this state for five consecutive years immediately preceding enrollment.The JFC also approved of allowing National Guard members to receive in-state tuition at state colleges, even if they come from out of state.
Provide an exemption from nonresident tuition for students who meet all of the following criteria: (a) the student has resided in this state for six months immediately preceding the beginning of any semester or session in which the student enrolls; (b) the student is a member of the Wisconsin National Guard or a reserve unit of the U.S. Armed Forces while he or she registers at an institution and has been a member for the six months immediately preceding the semester in which the student enrolls; and (c) while enrolled, the student continues to be a member of the Wisconsin National Guard or a reserve unit of the U.S. Armed Forces. Specify that a student who meets the criteria above and who withdraws from an institution during a semester or session because he or she is called into active duty with the Wisconsin National Guard or U.S. Armed Forces for at least 30 days is entitled to an exemption from nonresident tuition if he or she reenrolls in a UW institution during the semester in which he or she is discharged, demobilized, or deactivated from active during or in the following semester. Provide that a student who meets the criteria above would be eligible to receive an exemption from nonresident tuition for 128 credits or eight semesters, whichever is longer.Both of these are good rewards for Guard members and family members of soldiers who have paid a high price for their service to the country. There's one big problem with these initiatives- there's no extra money set aside to pay for this.
If you go into the budget paper that talks about expanding the ability of spouses and children of dead and disabled vets to get their tuition paid, it mentions that the veterans tuition program was already underfunded, even before Walker and Joint Finance wanted to expand the eligibility to take advantage of it.
7. The precise number of veterans who were not Wisconsin residents at the time they entered service but who have lived in the state for five consecutive years is unknown. However, data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey shows that that 64.8% of veterans who have been awarded disability ratings of 30% or more and live in Wisconsin were born in the state. Although some veterans who were born in Wisconsin may have been residents of other states at the time of entry into service and some veterans who were not born in Wisconsin may have been state residents at the time of entry, this figure could reasonably be used as an estimate of the proportion of Wisconsin veterans who were state residents at the time of entry.So who will make up the difference in these added tuition remissions? THE SCHOOLS THEMSELVES. The UW System seems to set aside a portion of their regular tuition payments to give back money to the spouses and children of disabled and deceased veterans, but the state Technical College System just adds the expense of remissions to their overall bottom line. In other words, expanding this program without funding it will mean that already-restrained funding at the UW System and the Tech Colleges has just gotten tighter.
8. Based on this data, it is estimated that the value of remissions to the children and spouses of deceased or disabled veterans who were not state residents at the time of entry into service but who have lived in Wisconsin for five consecutive years could total $6.47 million annually ($5.42 million at UW institutions and $1.05 million at the technical colleges). The Governor's budget does not provide any additional funding in the HEAB [Higher Education Aids Board] appropriation to reimburse the Board of Regents and the technical college district boards for the increase in forgone tuition revenues that would result from this provision. As an alternative, the Committee could increase the HEAB appropriation by $6.47 million annually to fund the estimated increase in tuition and fees remissions that may result from this provision. If the Committee wished to reimburse the UW System and the technical college district boards for 15% of the additional remissions, which is equal to the percentage of current remissions that are reimbursed, the Committee could increase the HEAB appropriation by $970,000 annually. (the Joint Finance Committee and Walker budget chose to give an increase of...$0)
9. The value of remissions granted to children and spouses may increase in the future as this provision may attract additional disabled veterans and their families to this state. While federal education programs for veterans generally allow veterans to transfer benefits to children or spouses, benefits provided under these programs are usually limited to an amount sufficient for one beneficiary to earn a four-year degree. Under the state remissions program, a disabled veteran's spouse and each of his or her children are eligible for tuition and fees remissions for the longer of 128 credits or eight semesters, which is roughly equivalent to a four-year degree. Given these generous benefits, expanding eligibility for remissions to the children and spouses of disabled veterans who have lived in this state for five consecutive years could encourage a significant number of disabled veterans, especially those with multiple children, to relocate to this state, thus increasing the value of remissions granted.
Bad enough, and in addition, it seems quite sad that right before Memorial Day weekend, our Legislature passed on helping to pay for the deserved benefits that are being given to our veterans and their families. Keep this in mind when you see other intiatives and spending be chosen in the coming weeks during state budget talks.