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VACA & Exemptions

Out of state students who are using GI Bill benefits or are eligible for VACA or other exemptions, email a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility/supplementary documentation to Kari Leslie once you have your California address and have changed it in your Cal Poly portal. 


Nonresident Tuition Exemptions for Military Servicemembers, Veterans, and Dependents

Background

Several state and federal laws provide exemptions from paying nonresident tuition for current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their dependents. While these fee exemptions ensure students do not pay more than California residents, they do not establish California residency or establish eligibility for state benefits that require residency. Students receiving an exemption from nonresident tuition are encouraged, but in most cases not required, to take the necessary steps to establish California state residency. Eligibility for exemption from nonresident tuition is evaluated and established at the time of admission to a CSU campus. If a student has a break in enrollment requiring an application for readmission, residency status and eligibility for the nonresident tuition exemption will be reevaluated based on facts presented at the time of reapplication. To meet this exemption, the student must reside in California. However, they are not required to meet physical presence by the Residence Determination Date, intent, or financial independence residency requirements. The student is responsible for submitting supporting documents by the last day of the term. Any documents received after the last day of the term will be processed for the following term.

Servicemembers

A member of the Armed Forces of the United States who is stationed in the state shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition. (Note: California Education Code provides an expanded definition of “member of the Armed Forces of the United States" for this section (see footnote 2).

California law does not provide a nonresident tuition fee exemption to servicemembers on temporary military orders to attend a state-supported institution of higher education.

The following documents must be submitted to show evidence of eligibility:

  • A statement from the student's commanding officer or personnel officer stating that the assignment to active duty in this State is not for educational purposes, and
  • Military orders, a letter from the unit commander or personnel staff, or other military service personnel documents showing the date of assignment to California, and
  • A copy of the servicemember's orders indicating his/her assignment to California is a Permanent Change of Station (PCS).

Exemption from paying nonresident tuition continues for as long as the student is continuously enrolled at the same institution. The exemption continues even if the servicemember retires or is transferred to a different state for military duty.

Dependents of Servicemembers

A dependent of an active duty servicemember who meets either of the following criteria shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition.

The servicemember is on active duty and stationed in California.

Documents required

  • A statement from the servicemember's commanding officer or personnel officer that the servicemember is stationed in California on active duty as of the residence determination date, and
  • A statement that the student is a dependent of the servicemember and was claimed as a dependent for federal income tax purposes. The student has received transferred benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, resides in California, and is the dependent of an active duty servicemember of the U.S. Armed Forces who may be stationed anywhere.

The student has received transferred benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, resides in California, and is the dependent of an active duty servicemember of the U.S. Armed Forces who may be stationed anywhere.

Document Required

  • Certificate of Eligibility from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Exemption from paying nonresident tuition continues for as long as the student is continuously enrolled at the same institution. The exemption continues even if the servicemember retires or is transferred out of California for military duty.

Veterans

veteran who meets any of the following criteria shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition.

(1) The veteran was stationed in California on active duty for more than one year immediately prior to being discharged. Note: This is a one-year exemption that must be used within two years of discharge, which requires the veteran to file an affidavit with the campus stating an intent to establish residency in California as soon as possible.

Documents required

  • DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), and
  • Military orders, a letter from the unit commander or personnel staff, or other military service personnel documents that show the date of assignment to California, and
  • Affidavit stating an intent to establish residency.NOTE: A former member of the U.S. Armed Forces who received a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge (as shown on the DD-214) is not eligible for a nonresident tuition exemption under this code.

(2) The veteran is eligible for either the Montgomery GI Bill® – Active Duty (MGIB – AD) or Post-9/11 GI Bill®

Must reside in California

Documents required

  • DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), and
  • Certificate of Eligibility from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

(3) The veteran is eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation.

  • Must reside in California

Documents Required

  • DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), and
  • VA Form 28-1905 “Authorization and Certification of Entrance or Reentrance into Rehabilitation and Certification of Status."

Dependents of Veterans

dependent of a veteran who meets either of the following criteria shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition.

The student is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill®​ and must reside in California

Documents Required

  • Certificate of Eligibility from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

(3) The student is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, resides in California, and is the dependent of a servicemember of the U.S. Armed Forces who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001.


Document Required

  • Certificate of Eligibility from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Exemption from paying nonresident tuition continues for as long as the student is continuously enrolled at the same institution.

ROTC Cadets

Enrollment in ROTC courses does not automatically qualify a student for a nonresident tuition exemption. Students can enroll in these courses without entering military service or incurring a service obligation. At the point a cadet becomes a member of the armed forces, he or she becomes qualified for a nonresident tuition exemption. See rules for Servicemembers above. Documents used to show membership in the armed forces may include a Department of Defense ID card and/or an enlistment contract or orders.

NOTE: Membership in or a contract for the Delayed Entry Program is not acceptable as the student has not yet entered into the service.



Military Definitions
Active Duty- full-time duty in the Armed Forces, other than active duty for training. Includes service as a cadet at the United States Military, Air Force, or Coast Guard Academy, or as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. (Does not include full-time National Guard duty.)

Active Duty for Training– full-time duty in the Armed Forces performed by members of the reserve component of the Armed Forces for training purposes
Active Guard and Reserve Duty– means active duty performed by a member of a reserve component of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps, or full-time National Guard for a period of 180 consecutive days or more.

Certificate of Eligibility (COE) – a letter from the US Department of Veterans Affairs showing a student's eligibility for G.I. Bill benefits, and the number of days of that benefit the student has available. Students who retrieve this information from the VA's eBenefits web portal may provide a document with this information in lieu of a COE.

Continuously Enrolled– enrolled for at least the fall and spring semesters of an academic year, or for at least three quarters in an academic year (the academic year does not include summer or other intersessions).

DD-214 – Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. This document is provided to servicemembers at the time they are discharged from military service. Member Copy 2 or 4, showing the discharge date, type of discharge, and character of service, must be provided.

Dependent - a servicemember's spouse or child (natural or adopted child or stepchild)

Servicemember– A current member of the United States Armed Forces

Veteran– a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Armed Forces– The United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, including the reserve components thereof.

 

Please contact the campus for further information on military exceptions.

 

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