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OKBud

How do military families approach college?

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My oldest will be 13 this year, so for all intents and purposes, high school (homeschool) will begin next year for him.

We have one year left on this billet, and will get a dream sheet next year. If you don't know, we have no control over what is on the dream sheet (list of available jobs) and no control, really,  on where we are stationed next. We just order the jobs from our most preferred to our least preferred and then go wherever they say, even if we said "that's the last place on planet earth I want to move to."

Upcoming billets will vary in length, so we don't know how long we'll be at the next place either. We could move halfway into DS1's high school career*, or he could graduate while we are there... and have his dad relocated at the same time. OR yet still, we could move a year and a half after he graduates high school.

My personal ideal would be to live somewhere with excellent community colleges and excellent state schools that happen to coincide with DS's goals. Under the circumstances this seems very pie-in-the-sky. 

  • What would be considered "in-state" schools for us? The state we live in? Our HOR?
  • What happens if DS gets into a school in the state in which we live, then we move away and DS2, his little brother, starts  attending a state school there? Does DS1 lose in-state status?
  • Then, too, all of a sudden we might have to throw DS out to live on his own and then someone has to deal with the room and board we might have saved if we all lived in the same state.
  • This is why so many people I know move to their forever home when the kids are in high school, and Dad just lives separate. While I can see a lot of upsides to that plan, including personal ones not having overmuch to do with the kids, they're all trumped by living apart from DH and I would really consider that a last resort. But it raises the question... what if the kids and I live in a different state from where DH is stationed? What state would we be "in state" for??

I'm not worried about this, per se. But I don't even really understand yet how to begin thinking these things through. DS1 is very bright. I don't see him wanting to avoid or put off college. If anyone can point me in the right direction (any direction!), I would appreciate it. 

*moving when he is 15 or 16 seems like the best option, even though the kids would hate it, because then the billet after that would be DH's last and we could settle. 

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We aren't military.  Well, DH was in the military years ago, but he left long before we had to deal with this.

BUT....DH got laid off the week before Thanksgiving DD23's senior year of high school.  He got a new job, out of state, that March, so just 2 months before her high school graduation.

With that in mind.....

 

DD23 had in "in state" scholarship that covered full tution to any in state public school, and up to $8k at in state private schools.  With her chosen major, there were only 3 schools in the state that were available to her.  In our case, the state we moved to (Ohio) is generally reciprocal with the state we moved from (Indiana.)  Meaning, usually, kids in Ohio can go to schools in Indiana and still qualify for In State tuition. HOWEVER, we found that was generally school and state specific.  So for example, a kid living in Columbus Ohio probably wasn't going to be able to go to Purdue for in state tuition costs, BUT....that might not be the case any longer.

IOW............your questions about "in state" tuition and such, they really can only be answered by the college, at the time when your kid is looking for schools.  The college might have special rules for military.  There might be particular agreements with particular neighboring states.  There might be residency requirements in terms of how long you have to live in a state.

For DD23..................in state tutition wasn't a problem.  It was her state scholarship that forced our hand.  She received a state scholarship that was both needs and merit based, that required that she go to a school in state.  She signed up in middle school, and has several required seminars through high school, so essentially, we had to be in the state in 8th grade, and stay there through high school, and then still stay there through her college years for the scholarship to cover her tuition.  Because it was a state scholarship residency was super important and that meant that for the entire time she was in college, we, her parents, had to live in state..............it didn't even matter what her actual permanent address was.  She was actually in her own apartment, on her own lease, and not even our dependant for tax purposes, for her last two years in school.   But our residency was most important.  SO...............we lived 6 miles from the Indiana/Ohio border and DH commuted to work in Ohio every day for 4 years.  

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You are in-state for the state you have declared residency in. 

Otherwise, it depends on the state--many will wave out off state tuition for military families stationed in that state. 

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22 minutes ago, maize said:

You are in-state for the state you have declared residency in. 

 

 

What does this mean? I'm registered to vote in this state but DH is registered to our HOR. We don't pat state taxes. Like, talk to me like I'm 4 and for some reason need to know this information lol. 

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Most states require you to have residency for a period before you're eligible for in-state tuition and application benefits. But that may not be true if you're military. It may be that the minute you move and declare residency, your ds will have those benefits. Also, it's different from state to state. And it's different when a student is a minor. I don't have your answer... but I think that's part of what you're asking, right?

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they get to keep their in-state residency, as long as they remain continuously enrolled, even if their parents’ situation changes while they are in school.  If a child starts college, and receives in-state tuition there because their parent is stationed there, he or she will continue to receive in-state tuition even if the parent moves away.

 

That's good at least. But still bites if you intended to be a commuter student.

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My husband is on active duty.  Our children receive in-state tuition in the state he is stationed in and will continue to do so if he receives PCS orders.  #2 and 3 who are commuting will hopefully be done by the time we PCS and #4 will be half way through and probably end up in the dorms or an apartment.  

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35 minutes ago, OKBud said:

 

What does this mean? I'm registered to vote in this state but DH is registered to our HOR. We don't pat state taxes. Like, talk to me like I'm 4 and for some reason need to know this information lol. 

 

This is a situation where you should probably talk to the colleges in question when the time comes about the way that state handles residency for military (it won't be an issue if the kids attend private college.) Many state colleges have an office that handles military/veteran students, so they may your best source of information.

Our situation is military, but we changed residency to the state where my husband is stationed, and have been able to stay put, so our circumstances are less complicated. We used the GI Bill for our oldest daughter and I did learn then how complicated the rules can be 🙂

Edited by GoodGrief1
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They recently changed the rules on the post-911 GI bill again. I could spit nails about it, but I'll refrain.

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I have learned so much from this forum but this is my first response, hopefully I will have done it correctly. Please forgive me if not.

Background, we are a career military family with enough space between children that we have experienced this issue/s over several years with varying scenarios such as you describe. 

The short answer is... there is not one answer. Every state school seems to have their own requirements/threshold for determining "in state" tuition and/or residency for these purposes.

For some schools, that is "do you pay taxes in this state?" and if the answer is "no" then you may fall under the military allowance clause and just have to provide documentation such as orders, deers eligibly etc. EVEN IF your child had lived in that state and attended public schools for years.

Some states that are your HOR (Home of Record) offer what is known as reciprocity for Active duty members and their family and will allow in-state tuition while you are away. Some will allow it only if you attest it is your intention to return to that state permanently after release from service. In my experience not all public schools within the same state follow the same guidelines. (I'm not saying that makes sense, only that it has been my experience) Though I'm sure if you wanted to push the issue you could likely make your case.

Another scenario (bear with me as this is likely to be confusing, especially to those not in the military) is when your child "lives" in one state and you reside in another and the military member HOR is a third state. Again depends on the school but what we have seen is that the child that lives in one state (not yet started college) is not considered a resident of that state as long as you are still claiming them on your tax return and they have not taken steps to create residency in that state (i.e. register to vote, get drivers license, have a job) This can work to your advantage or against it if you plan accordingly. For example, if I had known my youngest child  would not automatically be considered a resident of the state where she grew up and lived so long and went to school and they would only give her in-state tuition strictly based on orders to the state, we could have secured that in-state tuition elsewhere instead and had more options.

Final note is that it can depend on the type/length of orders. Sometimes the military member has HOR in one state, is stationed in another state and is TDY for longer length of time to third state. In this case the TDY state is not generally considered eligible for in-state tuition because of the type of orders and the fact the family still resides in the previous state. Though once you receive and begin with in-state tuition at college, you are generally able to remain that way and would be hard pressed to have the residency changed even if you moved. 

My best advice is to echo the previous response about calling the schools you might even think of considering and talk to them but understand that they change these policies, so don't count on information you gather now being relevant in 3 years or so. And in my experience, call back and talk to more than one person in admissions because sometimes the people don't actually know the correct answer and give incorrect information.

I hope some of that is helpful. 

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As I understand it, our kids are stage residents in the state where DH is stationed (which sucks if your overseas and stateless) but they are also considered state residents if they are paying tuition with the GI Bill. 

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