The Ohio GI Promise seeks to make Ohio the most veteran-friendly state in the country for higher education. To encourage veterans from across America to bring their families, leadership, motivation and maturity to Ohio's colleges and universities, the State of Ohio, as part of the executive order creating the Ohio GI Promise, outlined criteria that allows qualified veterans and their dependents, from anywhere in the country to skip the 12-month residency requirement and attend University System of Ohio schools at in-state tuition rates.
In January 2009, HB 450 was passed. This legislation contained amendments to the Ohio Revised Code Section 3333.31 expanding veteran and veteran dependent eligibility for in-state tuition. After HB 450 went into effect on April 7, 2009, the GI Bill eligibility and community service/internship/co-op provisions will no longer be required for a veteran to be considered a resident for in-state tuition purposes. Also, veterans will not be required to enroll themselves in order to gain residency for their dependents.
The new requirements can be summarized as follows:
- The veteran must have been honorably discharged or medically separated from service with at least one year of service. Veteran dependents also are eligible if the veteran was killed (KIA), declared missing in action (MIA) or a prisoner of war (POW). Eligibility should be documented by form DD-214.
- The veteran and the veteran's dependents must be domiciled in Ohio as of the first day of enrollment. In cases where the veteran was KIA, MIA or POW, only the dependents need be domiciled in Ohio.
- Documentation of dependent eligibility may include:
- Dependent Spouse: Proof of marriage; marriage certificate.
- Dependent Children: Proof of dependent status as provided by the veteran parent's IRS tax filing for the previous year (dependent as defined in Administrative Rule 3333-1-10(B)(5)).
- In cases where the veteran is KIA, or currently MIA or POW, official documentation of that status would be required.
The text of HB 450 can be found at this link.
The residency officer at each public institution has sole authority to request any documentation in order to make the final determination as to the qualifying residency status of any qualified veteran or dependent under the provisions of the Ohio GI Promise.
If you have any questions about these requirements and changes, please contact Michelle Chavanne by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on a question below to read the answer.
1. What qualifications must I meet in order to be deemed a resident of Ohio for the purpose of qualifying for in-state tuition?
- A) The veteran must have been honorably discharged or medically separated from service with at least one year of service. Veteran dependents also are eligible if the veteran was killed (KIA), declared missing in action (MIA) or a prisoner of war (POW).
- B) The veteran and the veteran's dependents must be domiciled in Ohio as of the first day of enrollment. In cases where the veteran was KIA, MIA or POW, only the dependents need be domiciled in Ohio.
2. What documentation do I need in order to qualify for in-state tuition rates?
- It will remain the veteran or dependent's burden to provide the necessary documentation to his/her residency officer at the institution of attendance.
- To determine the eligibility of the Veteran:
- Form DD-214, issued to each veteran upon discharge from active duty, documents the length and character of service (type of discharge).
- Proof of domicile in Ohio as of the first day of enrollment as documented by proof of mortgage, rental lease agreement, or, if living with parents or other arrangement with no formal agreement, certified letter from the owner/occupants of the domicile.
- To determine the eligibility of the dependent:
- The veteran must meet the eligibility requirements listed in "1A", except in cases where the veteran was KIA, MIA, or POW. In those cases, official documentation of KIA, MIA or POW status will be required.
- The dependent must meet the same domicile requirements as the veteran listed above in "2B". In cases of KIA, MIA, or POW, only the dependent must be domiciled in Ohio.
- The residency officer has the right to request additional documentation and authority to make the final determination on whether a qualified veteran or a dependent of a veteran ultimately meets the residency requirement and qualifies for in-state tuition rates.
3. I read an article that said all veterans would be eligible for free tuition at an Ohio public college/university. Is this accurate?
That is incorrect. Ohio currently does not offer a program that provides a 100 percent tuition waiver to veterans or their dependents. It may be possible, given that the new Post 9-11 GI Bill will provide for full in-state/undergraduate tuition and fees, a basic allowance for housing (BAH) at an E-5 level, and an annual stipend, that any veteran or dependent who qualifies for in-state tuition through the Ohio GI Promise and receives benefits through the Post 9-11 GI Bill would be able to attend a public college/university in Ohio at no cost to themselves. Eligibility for any federal educational benefits through the GI Bill must be determined by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs.
4. Since I (or my family and I) may qualify as Ohio residents under the Ohio GI Promise, will this make me eligible for state financial aid programs such as the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG)?
Yes. You will be considered a qualified resident for other state financial aid programs. You will still, however, need to meet any additional eligibility requirements of any specific program in order to receive benefits.
Are all veterans (and their families) eligible for the Ohio GI Promise?
Most, but not all. The Ohio Revised Code limits eligibility to only those veterans and dependents who meet the eligibility and documentation requirements listed under questions one and two. Veterans who received any discharge other than honorable or who served less than one year or were unable to domicile in Ohio would not qualify themselves or their families for the Ohio GI Promise.
5. When does the residency exception for eligible veterans and dependents begin?
The amendments to Ohio Revised Code Section 3333.31 that expand eligibility for in-state tuition through the Ohio GI Promise were effective as of April 7, 2009.
6. I am a veteran and have served honorably or was medically discharged with at least 1 year service. I do not plan to move to Ohio myself, but my son/daughter would like to attend an Ohio school. Will he/she be eligible for the in-state tuition rate under the Ohio GI Promise?
No. For the veteran's dependents to be qualified, the veteran must be domiciled in Ohio. The only exception is for dependents of those veterans who are documented as currently KIA, MIA or POW. In those cases, only the dependent need be domiciled in Ohio.
7. I am a veteran and have served honorably or was medically discharged with at least 1 year service. I plan to move to Ohio, but I do not plan to enroll in a college/university. My son/daughter, however, would like to attend an Ohio school. Will he/she be eligible for the in-state tuition rate under the Ohio GI Promise?
Yes. The dependent would have to still provide documentation of the veteran's eligibility and also be domiciled in Ohio.
8. If my dependent qualifies for in-state tuition rates, does he/she also qualify for benefits under my federal GI Bill?
The Ohio GI Promise is a State of Ohio initiative with no official relationship to federal education benefits administered by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs. Any questions about eligibility for GI Bill benefits must be directed to the federal VA.
9. Is there a limit to the number of dependents who can take advantage of the in-state tuition rates at any given time?
No, provided that the veteran and each dependent meet all of the eligibility criteria.
10. How much can I receive in benefits under the Post 9-11 GI Bill?
Only the United States Department of Veterans Affairs can determine eligibility for federal educational benefits under the GI Bill.
11. What is the definition of "dependent" for the purposes of the Ohio GI Promise?
"Dependent" is defined in Ohio Administrative Code as, "a student who was claimed by at least one parent or guardian as a dependent on that person's internal revenue service tax filing for the previous tax year."
12. If I was discharged from the military in any manner other than honorably or due to medical separation, i.e. dishonorable, other than honorable, bad conduct, or general, can I still qualify for benefits under the Ohio GI Promise?
No. The Ohio Revised Code Section 3333.31 requires that the veteran be honorably discharged or medically separated with at least 1 year service.
13. I am a veteran who served honorably or was medically discharged with at least 1 year of service. I am not currently a resident of Ohio, but am domiciled in Ohio and attending an Ohio public institution. Will I be able to take advantage of the in-state tuition rates under the Ohio GI Promise?
Yes. As long as you meet all the eligibility requirements outlined in Ohio Revised Code Section 3333.31 and listed in Questions "1" and "2" above, you will qualify for in-state tuition at the beginning of the next term of attendance that begins after April 7, 2009.
14. I am eligible for in-state tuition under the Ohio GI Promise and am eligible for benefits under the GI Bill. Does Ohio make any other benefits available to cover the remainder of my tuition costs?
Those veterans and dependents who qualify for in-state tuition under the Ohio GI Promise would also qualify as a resident for the purposes of pursuing other forms of state financial aid. Also, individual colleges and universities may be able to offer additional financial aid assistance. Visit the financial aid website for additional financial aid opportunities.