U.S. Military Personnel, Spouses and Children

Active duty military personnel, veterans, spouses and domestic partners and children may be eligible for resident tuition. Please review who is considered active duty military for residency for tuition paying purposes, eligibility if you are active duty military stationed in Washington, what happens if you were originally a resident of Washington and now assigned out of state, or options for veterans and their families.

You are considered a resident for tuition paying purposes if you are:

  • A full time active duty military member stationed in Washington for purposes other than training.
  • Serving in the uniformed services, which includes the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Washington National Guard or Reserve.
  • Serving in the Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps.
  • Serving in other nonmilitary organizations recognized as equivalent to service in the armed forces.

You are eligible for resident tuition if you are the spouse or dependent child of an active duty service member (your sponsor) stationed in Washington.

What information do I need to provide to support my residency for tuition paying purposes?

To determine eligibility, provide a copy of your sponsor’s military orders showing the date of assignment to active duty service in Washington and a copy of your military identification card verifying your spouse or dependent status. We may also ask you for copies of your sponsor’s Leave and Earning statements.

If you enter military service while domiciled in Washington, or establish a domicile while stationed in Washington for at least one year prior to your assignment out of state, you will remain a resident for tuition paying purposes during your assignment if you meet certain conditions. You must return to Washington within one year of discharge or end of service and maintain all legal ties to Washington while you are stationed outside the state. In addition, we will request a copy of your current Leave and Earning Statement (LES) and copies of your LES forms for the 12 months prior to the quarter you plan to attend.

Some examples of qualifying documents that support your domicile in the state are: 

My spouse/parent/legal guardian (your sponsor) was originally stationed in Washington but has now been transferred out of state. I plan to remain in Washington during their assignment. Can I attend as a resident student for tuition paying purposes?

Yes you can as long as you continue to reside in the state. We will ask that you provide documentation that your sponsor has maintained a domicile and legal ties to Washington. We will also require a copy of your sponsor’s current Leave and Earning Statement (LES) as well as copies of your sponsor’s LES forms for the 12 months prior to the quarter you plan to attend.

In 2015, the United States Congress passed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act (Choice Act). The Choice Act requires states provide resident tuition to eligible individuals for training under the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill in approved Veterans Affairs programs.

You are eligible for resident tuition under the Choice Act when the following conditions are met:

  1. You have served at least ninety (90) days of active duty service in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps. 
  2. You were separated from the uniformed services with any period of honorable service.
  3. You are currently living in Washington and entered an institution of higher education within three (3) years of your date of separation from the military.
  4. You are eligible to receive Veterans Administration educational assistance benefits.
  5. You enter an institution of higher education in Washington within three years of your discharge date.

As an eligible Choice Act veteran, what documents do I need to submit?

Please provide evidence that you are living in Washington State. You will also need to submit a copy of your DD-214 form indicating you meet conditions 1, 2, and 5 listed above. In addition, we will need a copy of your Veterans’ Administration Certificate of Eligibility for education assistance benefits.

I am the spouse (or dependent) of a qualifying veteran. Am I eligible for resident tuition?

Yes, you may be if you are a spouse or dependent of an individual who has separated from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Public Health Service Commissioned Corps or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps under honorable conditions after at least ninety (90) days of service. You must be living in Washington and you must enroll in an institution of higher learning within three (3) years of your transferor’s discharge.

What documents do I need to submit as a spouse or dependent of a veteran who qualifies for the Choice Act?

Please submit the following documents to your campus Veterans Coordinator:

  • A copy of your eligible veteran’s DD-214 form
  • Verification of your dependent status, e.g. marriage or birth certificate
  • A copy of your Veterans Administration Certificate of Eligibility for education assistance benefits  

What if I’m eligible as a veteran for Chapter 31 benefits? 

You may be eligible for resident tuition if you are entitled to Chapter 31 (vocational rehabilitation and employment) benefits through the Veterans Administration. There is no time limit in which you must enroll after leaving the military. Submit a copy of your DD-214 form to your campus Veteran Coordinator to determine eligibility.   

What about other educational benefits for family members?   

You may be eligible for a tuition waiver to reduce your tuition cost as a child, spouse or domestic partner of a totally disabled or POW/MIA or deceased eligible veteran or National Guard member who meets one of the following conditions:
 

  • Became totally disabled during active military or naval service 
  • Was determined to be a prisoner of war or missing in action  
  • Lost his or her life during active military or naval service

Children may use these benefits between the age of 17 and 26. Surviving spouses or domestic partners have ten (10) years from the date of the death, total disability or federal determination of prisoner of war or missing in action status of the eligible veteran or National Guard member to receive the waiver. Surviving spouses or domestic partners are ineligible for the waiver upon remarriage or registration in a subsequent domestic partnership.

Questions? Your campus Residency Classification Officer can help.


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