The woman, a former sergeant in the Army, and her husband, also in the military, purchased their house in N.C. in 2006 after both of them finished tours of duty in Iraq. They lived in the house until 2009, when the husband was assigned to a base in Texas. They kept paying their taxes on the property and the wife says she’s been back at the house since 2010. But that little time away was apparently enough for the folks at UNC-Pembroke to deny her application for in-state status.
And unfortunately, the money from her G.I. Bill would not cover the hefty out-of-state tuition cost. Oddly enough, she says UNC-Fayetteville did consider her an in-state student.
She appealed the decision before a 15-member panel at the school, but even that was denied. She tells FoxNews.com that the reason she was given was that she hadn’t paid North Carolina income tax during the time she spent in Iraq and Texas.
“The process was demeaning,” she says. “They [Pembroke] treated me so poorly I felt like I was a criminal on trial… They told me I couldn’t reapply.”
The founder and president of the Student Veterans Advocacy Group tells Fox that nearly 250,000 student veterans have been denied in-state tuition around the country.
“In North Carolina alone there are more than 5,000 student veterans facing such hardship,” he explains. “That’s not the deal we signed up for when joining the military, and surely isn’t what was intended in the 1940s when [the G.I. Bill program] began.”
The denied student has started a petition at Change.org that already has nearly 130,000 signatures. It is asking for the school’s Board of Governors to reverse its thinking on veterans and in-state tuition.
“It’s so much larger,” she explains. “This isn’t just about me. It’s for every veteran hitting these roadblocks.”
Meanwhile, she’s moved on with her education at a private college, saying, “I don’t want to be associated with an institution that treats veterans this way.”