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The Army Continuing Education System has launched a Web site to help military members and their families determine state residency requirements for in-state college tuition.

State residency requirements vary for in-state tuition eligibility for military personnel and their families.

“Just because you own a house in [a particular] state doesn’t necessarily give you residency in that state,” said Emily Gourdine, guidance counselor at Heidelberg High School in Germany. “Some states have a military clause, but not all of them do.”

In July 2002, an Army education summit was held to address issues regarding residency requirements for soldiers and their family members. It was agreed at the summit that these issues applied to all the services, not solely the Army. Later in 2002, at the Army Family Action Plan’s annual conference, the in-state tuition initiative was voted the No. 1 issue.

“The Army took it on as an initiative …,” said Michael Tevnan, education specialist at the U.S. Total Army Personnel Command. “In fact, all the services are actually working to ensure states have a common policy.”

As part of the initiative, states were asked to consider their residency requirements under three criteria, Tevnan said.

They are: in-state tuition for soldiers and family members within the state of legal residence; immediate in-state tuition for soldiers and family members in their state of assignment; and continuity of in-state tuition once residency has been established

“One of the neat things is that this initiative has made a lot of states look into their laws,” Tevnan added.

The states’ status are shown on the in-state tuition Web site, which can be accessed by logging onto the Army Continuing Education System site at www.armyeducation.army.mil/InState/index.htm and then following links to “In-State Tuition” and “State Summary.”

Twenty states meet all three criteria.

However, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, South Dakota, Vermont and Virginia have policies unfavorable to the military or have no policies at all, Tevnan said.

For example, Virginia does not allow servicemembers to be considered for in-state tuition unless they give up residency in their home states and become Virginia taxpayers, Tevnan said. Illinois, however, leaves the in-state decision up to the schools themselves.

Since the initiative began last year, Georgia and Texas have changed their policies to meet all three criteria. Eight states are currently reviewing the possibility of meeting all three goals.

“I think the site is fantastic for the students I work with who struggle with the in-state and out-of-state tuition issue,” Gourdine said. “Too many of my students got caught up in this.”

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