The Department of Higher Education is designated by law as the State Approving Agency (SAA) responsible for approving and supervising programs at educational institutions and training establishments in Massachusetts which offer education and training to veterans and other eligible persons under the Veterans Education Assistance Program.
These programs must have SAA approval before veterans and other eligible persons may receive educational benefits (GI Bill) from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs under the authority of Title 38, U.S. Code and Chapter 1606 Title 10. At the core of the SAA's responsibilities are program approval, annual inspections, and ensuring corrective action when necessary.
Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014
The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-146) changed the amount of tuition and fee charges which can be reported to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Effective July 1, 2015, public institutions of higher education must charge qualifying veterans and dependents tuition and fees at the rate for in-state residents. Any institution not meeting this requirement will be disapproved by VA for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill.
Individuals qualifying for in-state tuition under Public Law 113-146 are:
If the veteran or dependent enrolls within three years after the veteran’s discharge, the requirement to charge no more than the in-state tuition rate would apply for the duration the individual remains continuously enrolled at the institution.
Federal law permits public institutions of higher education to require eligible veterans or dependents to demonstrate intent to establish residency in the state by means other than satisfying a physical presence requirement. For example, institutions can request documentation such as a driver’s license, car registration or voter registration, signed lease or rent receipt to help establish an applicant’s intent to establish residency in Massachusetts. Please note that the federal law does not include a durational residency requirement, nor does it include a requirement that eligible veterans demonstrate an intent to remain in Massachusetts indefinitely.
Finally, please note that the federal law does not bar institutions from requiring eligible veterans to meet other requirements, unrelated to residency, in order to be eligible for the in-state tuition rate.
For further information, contact us.