UW System Position on Bills Introduced in the Legislature During the 2007-2008 Session
Tuition Fee Remission for Certain Veterans Dependents
(Leibham/Bies) Under current law, certain veterans and the spouses, children, or surviving spouses of certain veterans are eligible for a full tuition remission at the UW System and technical colleges for 128 credits or eight semesters. Eligible veterans must have served under honorable conditions in certain types of active duty, be a resident, and have entered service while a resident of this state. Eligibility for a spouse, surviving spouse, or child of a veteran, the veteran must have entered service while a resident of this state and either died while on duty or have a service-connected disability that is rated as 30 percent or more while a resident of this state.This bill provides eligibility for the tuition remission for a veteran, and for the spouse, surviving spouse, or child of a disabled or deceased veteran, if the veteran was a resident of this state for at least ten continuous years after entering service and before the student registers for college.
UW System Position
AMEND: This bill would broaden the definition of eligible veterans and certain family members by modifying current residency requirements. The bill does not provide additional funding to replace anticipated lost tuition revenue due to higher projected participation rates.
The WDVA estimates about one third of the recipients of other Wisconsin veterans benefits qualify for these benefits by virtue of a period of residency. UW System estimates a similar 33% increase in veteran/dependent participation based on Fall 2006 rates.
When the remission for veterans increases to 100% in July 2007, it is assumed veteran participation will far exceed the participation rates of other residents within the same age groups. Due to the 10 year residency rule, more veterans than at present may enroll in graduate and professional education. The numbers and costs of the remissions could rise significantly both due to increased participation rates and higher tuition expenses of these programs.
UW System estimates the annual impact of this legislation at approximately $3.7 million, based on current levels of participation for dependents and veterans.Unless the bill is amended to provide GPR funding to replace the estimated lost tuition revenue, tuition would likely increase for other students, or services and teaching for veterans and non-veteran students alike would be reduced.