The University of South Florida continues to help our military veterans be successful. Recognized nationally as a top veteran-friendly university, USF has recently authorized a mission-based waiver of out-of-state fees for the period from May 1 through June 30, 2014. This will afford veterans the opportunity to enroll at USF this summer and pay in-state tuition in advance of the recent bill (HB 7015-the Florida GI Bill) signed by Governor Rick Scott. The “Congressman C.W. Bill Young Tuition Waiver Program” grants this benefit legislatively beginning July 1, 2014. By this action, USF wants veterans to know, we’ve got your six.
In the military, “Got your six” means “I’ve got your back.” The Got Your 6” national campaign bridges the gap between civilians and military personnel by sending the message to communities that have our military service members’ backs especially as they exit the military and reenter civilian and perhaps academic life. This action by the University of South Florida and Florida’s Governor and state legislature recognizes that our veterans serve the United States and the world-not just one state. Therefore, they should have the benefit of paying tuition at an in-state rate.
The new law eliminates the barriers that veterans faced under Florida residency laws. Veterans are not considered “active military duty” and thus could not qualify for in-state residency on this basis, as a result of being stationed in Florida or having Florida as their official home of record. Many veterans attending USF are affiliated with or are citizens of other states. They do not have sufficient legal ties to Florida for eligibility and thus were required to pay out-of-state fees. The Congressman C. W. Bill Young Veteran out-of-state tuition waiver simply requires honorable discharge and residence in Florida. It appears to only require physical presence in Florida and does not require legal ties or specify any duration. All degree-seeking veterans are eligible-though spouses and dependents will not qualify for this tuition waiver. In Banner (OASIS), these students will be classified as non-Florida residents; however, the tuition wavier will cover the cost of the out-of- state portion of the fees, leaving student veterans with paying only the in-state tuition balance that remains.
At the University of South Florida, our mission is student success. We help and support our veterans to transition to academic life, following military service, to reinvigorate our communities. Here in the USF Office of the Registrar, we’ve got our six and encourage the entire USF Community and System to have theirs.
Indrea Pope, Residency Counselor