Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Higher Education Committee

HB 1011

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Removing the one-year waiting period for veterans or active members of the military for purposes of eligibility for resident tuition.

Sponsors: Representatives Appleton, Seaquist, Sells, Zeiger, Ryu, Liias, Hudgins, Morrell, Ormsby, Hansen, Bergquist, Reykdal, Haler, Klippert, Fey, Magendanz, Jinkins, MacEwen and Hayes.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Expands eligibility to pay resident tuition for students on active military duty, National Guard members, and their spouses and dependents under certain conditions.

Hearing Date: 1/22/13

Staff: Madeleine Thompson (786-7304).


Establishing Residency for Tuition Purposes

In Washington, as in most other states, establishing residency for tuition purposes at public institutions of higher education has two components: the establishment of an official domicile, and a waiting period of one year after establishing a domicile. A collection of evidence is required to prove an individual’s domicile. Individuals can only have one legal domicile in the U.S. at one time.

Residency for Active Military and Veterans

State statute directs that active duty military personnel stationed in Washington and their dependents are eligible to pay resident tuition. Individuals who separate from the military are required to meet specific residency requirements which include a waiting period of one year following establishment of Washington as their official domicile.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides postsecondary education benefits that cover in-state tuition costs at public institutions. Non-resident tuition may be significantly higher. For example, for 2012-13, average resident tuition at University of Washington-Seattle is $12,383 and non-resident tuition is $29,938. The average tuition and fees for students taking 15 credits during the academic year at community and technical colleges is $4,000 for residents and $9,235 for non-residents.

There are three public colleges (Walla Walla Community College, Washington State University and the Evergreen State College) and 27 private colleges that participate in the ‘Yellow Ribbon’ program that is an element of the post 9/11 GI bill. In order to participate, a postsecondary education institution must make a commitment to contributing a portion of funds to cover the difference between resident and nonresident tuition for veterans. However, participation is limited as schools place a maximum limit on the number of students who may participate.

Summary of Bill:

Eligibility to pay resident tuition is expanded for students on active military duty, National Guard members, and their spouses and dependents under certain conditions.

A student who is on active military duty or a member of the National Guard but is not stationed in the state is eligible to pay resident tuition as long as he or she entered service as a Washington resident and maintained Washington as his or her domicile. Dependents of such active military individuals or National Guard members are also eligible for in-state tuition.

A student who is honorably discharged from the military after at least two years of service

and who enters an institution of higher education in Washington within one year of the date of separation is eligible for in-state tuition as long as he or she:

Spouses or dependents of such honorably discharged veterans who meet the same conditions, are also eligible to pay resident tuition.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on January 18, 2013.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.