Panel to discuss tuition benefits for military vets

Published: Monday, November 11, 2013 at 4:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 11, 2013 at 4:09 p.m.

University of Florida Student Government, UF External Affairs and the Collegiate Veterans Society are holding a free event Tuesday to rally support for proposed legislation that would give military veterans in-state tuition rates at all Florida public universities and colleges.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. in Pugh Hall and is open to the public. Guest speakers include retired Maj. Gen. David Kratzer, vice president of Student Affairs; UF Student Body President Christina Bonarrigo; and Matthew Davis, president of Collegiate Veterans Society.

“Twenty-six states have already enacted a similar piece of legislation,” Bonarrigo said in a news release. “It is time for Florida to support our veterans by waiving the residency requirement.”

In 2013, the Florida House passed a bill that would have guaranteed that U.S.-born students of undocumented immigrants be treated as in-state residents for tuition purposes. That bill also would have granted in-state status to military veterans, as well. But the bill never made it over to the Senate.

This year, Sen. Jack Latvala and Rep. Kathleen Peters, both Republicans from St. Petersburg, are planning to introduce legislation specifically granting in-state tuition status to military vets. The bill would waive the residency requirement of 12 consecutive months for out-of-state veterans to qualify for in-state tuition, saving vets thousands of dollars.

The state university system now has about 2,400 non-resident veterans, Bonarrigo said.

House Speaker Will Weatherford has expressed interest in the bill, which has broad support among military and veterans groups in Florida.

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