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Veterans 101: Eligibility for educational benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides a variety of veterans’ education benefits and assistance programs, benefiting both veterans and some dependents.

On Saturday, the Nueces County Veterans Services Office will hold a free educational seminar.

This event is aimed at providing veterans and their dependents the opportunity to ask questions about education benefits.

The Nueces County Veterans Services Office will be hosting their third Veterans 101 class. The aim is to educate veterans on their educational benefits.

“Basically it is education for veterans and their dependents as far as what they need to know, if they qualify for educational benefits, or if they still qualify. What they need to know as far as the family member and what they can use, either the Hazlewood Act or the Forever GI Bill. And third, it’s what they need to know as far as transferability to their dependents to use their educational benefits,” said Nueces County Veterans Service Officer Martin A. Longoria.

Veterans pursuing their educational goals are usually eligible for “educational assistance for students” in most states. Educational benefits for veterans and their dependents, particularly the children of deceased and disabled veterans, are also available in some states.

“Sometimes the educational benefit has a certain period of time that the veteran can use. And after that, if he doesn’t use it in a certain period of time, educational benefits cease to exist for him/her. The only good thing about it is that if you are a Texas veteran, and you enlisted in the state of Texas, the veteran has the opportunity to utilize his Hazlewood Act. Either he can use it or he/she can pass it along to his/her dependents,” Longoria added.

For many veterans, they don’t know about their military benefits or where to go and get the help they need.

“Because sometimes we don’t spend a lot of time researching what we qualify for so this is a great opportunity where they can come out and ask those questions. We will have reps from the Texas Veterans Commission Education Services and also have a rep from Del Mar College, EJ Goodroe from Veteran Services, to answer those questions,” Longoria said.

The Veterans 101 Education seminar will take place on Saturday at the Del Mar College Economic Development Center. The event will be from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

For more information contact Longoria at 361-888-0821

The Hazlewood Act is a State of Texas benefit that provides qualified Veterans, spouses and dependent children with an education benefit of up to 150 hours of tuition exemption, including most fee charges, at public institutions of higher education in Texas.

This does NOT include living expenses, books or supply fees.

A veteran must:

  • At the time of entry into active duty the U.S. Armed Forces, designate Texas as Home of Record; or entered the service in Texas; or was a Texas resident;
  • Have received an honorable discharge or separation or a general discharge under honorable conditions as indicated on the Veteran’s Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD Form 214);
  • Served at least 181 days of active duty service (excluding training);
  • Have no federal Veteran’s education benefits, or have no federal Veterans education benefits dedicated to the payment of tuition and fees only (such as Chapter 33 or 31; for term or semester enrolled that do not exceed the value of Hazlewood benefits;
  • Not be in default on a student loan made or guaranteed by the State of Texas;
  • Enroll in classes for which the college receives tax support (i.e., a course that does not depend solely on student tuition and fees to cover its cost), unless the college’s governing board has ruled to let Veterans receive the benefit while taking non-funded courses; and
  • Meet the GPA and excessive hour requirement of the institution’s satisfactory academic progress policy in a degree or certificate program as determined by the institution’s financial aid policy.

Veterans who are granted their first Hazlewood Act exemption beginning in fall 2011 must reside in Texas during the semester or term for which the exemption is claimed. This requirement does not apply to the Veterans who either received the exemption prior to the 2011-2012 academic year, have re-enlisted into active duty, or reside with a spouse who is on active duty.

Legacy Act (Child) Eligible Veterans may assign unused hours of exemption eligibility to a child under certain conditions.

Qualifications A child (legacy recipient) must:

  • Be classified by the institution as a Texas resident;
  • Be the biological child, stepchild, adopted child, or claimed as a dependent in the current or previous tax year;
  • Be 25 years old or younger on the first day of the semester or term for which the exemption is claimed (unless granted an extension due to a qualifying illness or debilitating condition); and
  • Meet the GPA and excessive hour requirements of the institution’s satisfactory academic progress policy in a degree or certificate program as determined by the institution’s financial aid policy.

Legacy recipients will receive an exemption for the number of degree certified hours reported by the institution for that term or semester. Maximum degree certified hours awarded to the Legacy recipient will be dependent upon the degree or certificate program in which the student is enrolled for that term or semester and shall be consistent with the program length as defined within the school catalog as approved by the regional accreditation commission.

And if a child to whom hours have been delegated fails to use all of the assigned hours, a veteran may re-assign the unused hours that are available to another child. Only one child will use Hazlewood Legacy benefits at a time.

Hazlewood Act for Spouse/Child Spouses and dependent children of eligible Active Duty, Reserve, and Texas National Guard who died in the line of duty or as a result of injury or illness directly related to military service, are missing in action, or who became totally disabled for purposes of employability as a result of a service-related injury or illness are entitled to each receive a 150 credit hours exemption.

Qualifications A spouse must:

  • Be a spouse of a veteran who, at the time of entry into the U.S. Armed Forces, be classified by the institution as a Texas resident, designated Texas as Home of Record, or entered the service in Texas;
  • Be a spouse of a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or the Texas National Guard who died as a result of service-related injuries or illness, is missing in action, or became totally disabled (100 percent) as a result of service-related injury or illness or is entitled to receive compensation at the 100 percent rate due to individual employability (IU) due to a service connected injury or illness;
  • Have no federal Veterans education benefits, or have no federal Veterans education benefits dedicated to the payment of tuition and fees only (such as Chapter 33 or 31) for term or semester enrolled that do not exceed the value of Hazlewood benefits;
  • Be classified by the institution as a Texas resident; and
  • Meet the GPA and excessive hour requirements of the institution’s satisfactory academic progress policy in a degree or certificate program as determined by the institution’s financial aid policy. This requirement does not apply to the spouse of a MIA, KIA, or service connected deceased veteran.

A child must:

  • Be a child of a veteran who, at the time of entry into the U.S. Armed Forces, be classified by the institution as a Texas resident, designated Texas as Home of Record, or entered the service in Texas;
  • Be a child of a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, Texas National Guard, or Texas Air National Guard who died as a result of service-related injuries or illness, is missing in action, or became totally disabled (100 percent) as a result of a service-related injury or illness or is entitled to receive compensation at the 100 percent rate due to individual employability (IU) due to a service connected injury or illness;
  • Have no federal Veterans education benefits, or have no federal Veterans education benefits dedicated to the payment of tuition and fees only (such as Chapter 33 or 31; for term or semester enrolled that do not exceed the value of Hazlewood benefits;
  • Be classified by the institution as a Texas resident; and
  • Meet the GPA and excessive hour requirements of the institution’s satisfactory academic progress policy in a degree or certificate program as determined by the institution’s financial aid policy. This requirement does not apply to the child of a MIA, KIA, or service-connected deceased Veteran.

Dependent children of MIA/POWs

EILIGIBILITY: Dependent children of TX military personnel MIA or POW.

BENEFITS: Exemption for payment of tuition and some fees at public colleges and universities. Exemptions from charges for continuing education courses is optional on the part of the institution.

APPLICATION: Financial aid officer of the state-supported institution of choice.

National Guard State Tuition Assistance State Tuition Assistance (State TA) is a state funded tuition assistance program for active drilling members of the Texas Army National Guard (TXARNG), Texas Air National Guard (TXANG) and Texas State Guard (TXSG).  It provides up to $9,000 annually ($4,500-Fall/$4,500-Spring) in education benefits for college tuition and eligible fees at a Texas college or university.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Active drilling members in “Good Standing” with TXARNG, TXANG or TXSG.
  • Completed Basic Training.  Members of the State Guard must complete BOT, RBOT or AIT.
  • Enlisted (E1-E9), Officers (O1-O5) and Warrant Officers (WO1-CW3).
  • Eligible school must be a Texas state college or university with headquarters in Texas as defined in Texas Education Code Section 61.003.
  • AGR not eligible.
  • Must be accepted to and registered in a qualifying institution for a minimum of 3 semester credit hrs.
  • Expiration of Term of Service (ETS) or Mandatory Retirement Date (MRD) must occur after the official last day of class.
  • Interstate Transfers must be complete prior to utilizing STRP.
  • Applicants with Prior Service must complete enlistment process prior to utilizing STRP.
  • ROTC Cadets who are utilizing the housing scholarship/option; Cadets using tuition option are not eligible.
Roland Rodriguez

Roland Rodriguez

Roland Rodriguez is a reporter for KRIS 6 Sunrise.
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