WASHINGTON — The Virginia legislature agreed to extend eligibility for college tuition for children of parents assigned to duty there, potentially saving families thousands in tuition costs.

The proposal still must be signed by the governor, though his office said Wednesday he will sign the bill. It would go into effect this summer, setting students’ tuition bills for next school year.

Under the bill, all children who have a parent assigned to duty in Virginia are considered state residents for college education purposes, making them eligible for in-state tuition rates.

Under current law, military families are eligible for the less expensive tuition only if a parent served at least half the year in Virginia and earned at least $10,732 there. Parents serving overseas whose permanent address is in Virginia are also eligible.

For state-funded universities, the difference between in-state tuition rates and prices for nonresidents is usually thousands of dollars.

This year at Virginia Tech, an in-state student paid $6,378 each year while an out-of-state student’s bill was $17,717. At the University of Virginia, state residents faced $7,180 in yearly tuition while out-of-state residents were charged $24,100.

Most states already provide in-state tuition rates for servicemembers stationed there. Only Virginia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, South Dakota, and Vermont still do not extend those lower tuition bills to military temporarily assigned to duty in their state.

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