The University of Maine System is poised to reduce tuition for military veterans’ dependents who live out of state, bringing it in line with new federal requirements for public colleges and universities.

The system would offer in-state tuition to all veterans’ dependents who qualify for GI Bill benefits under a proposal approved unanimously Wednesday by the academic and student affairs committee of the system’s board of trustees.

The full board of trustees will vote on the proposal at its Jan. 26 meeting. If approval isn’t delayed, the policy will take effect after the spring 2015 semester.

Depending on the campus, in-state tuition rates in the UMaine System are one-third to one-half of out-of-state rates. At the University of Southern Maine, annual tuition for a full-time student is $7,590 for Maine residents and $19,950 for out-of-state residents.

Under the proposal, dependents would have to enroll before their GI Bill benefits expire, but would continue to pay in-state tuition even after GI Bill benefits are exhausted or expired. Under the GI Bill, some dependents’ benefits expire 15 or 20 years after a veteran’s death, or after the dependent has attended college for a certain number of years.

System officials said there are currently 909 veterans enrolled in UMaine schools, and 30 veterans’ dependents who are paying out-of-state tuition.


Public colleges in all states must adopt a policy offering in-state tuition to dependents by July, or risk losing Department of Veterans Affairs funding. Only one other state is currently in full compliance, said Robert Haley, director of the Maine State Approving Agency for Veterans Education Programs.

Haley told the trustees that the policy would be a good recruiting tool for the system, which has struggled with low enrollment for years.

“You are in a position, frankly, to sell it first because so many other states are struggling to implement it,” Haley told the committee members. “For this group to pass this today puts us out in front of everyone else.”

Trustee Marjorie Medd praised the proposal.

“This is a great thing that we’re doing, that we should be doing,” Medd said. “This can really impact the lives of people in our communities.”

If the plan is approved, it would be the second time in two years that the system has updated its tuition policy for veterans.

Last spring, the system began charging in-state tuition for any veteran who has been honorably discharged, including those who aren’t eligible for other benefits or have used up their benefits.

Before that, the UMaine System only offered in-state tuition to current active-duty service members, participating members of the National Guard and veterans using the post-9/11 GI Bill.

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