Non-citizens' vs our Veterans' Benefits

During Governor Evers budget address, he stated: “Finally, we're going to make sure that, regardless of whether a kid was born in this country, if they went to a Wisconsin high school and have lived here for three years, they shouldn't have to pay more for tuition like an out-of-state student--they should be treated like any other kid from Wisconsin.”

Governor Evers’ budget stipulates a non-citizen qualifies for in-state tuition throughout the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Technical College System if the individual graduates or gets a GED from a Wisconsin high school, establishes a 3 year continuous “presence” before their college enrollment, and provides proof of application or an intent to file application for a permanent resident visa.

At UW-Madison, a Wisconsin resident taking 12 to 18 credits in the 2018-2019 semesters pays $5,278 in tuition and fees per semester, whereas a non-resident student remits $18,403 per semester. Multiplying the $13,125 difference by 8 semesters means every non-citizen would receive a $105,000 benefit courtesy of Wisconsin taxpayers. 

By comparison, a veteran who makes Wisconsin home following military service must prove they were a Wisconsin resident before entering service or must show 5 continuous years of Wisconsin residency immediately before college enrollment to qualify for Wisconsin veterans’ fee remission benefits. Additionally, veterans must prove qualifying military service and maintain a GPA of 2.0. Upon proving eligibility, a veteran attending UW Madison can receive $5,278 reimbursement per semester for 8 semesters, totaling $42,224 in benefits.

In the Wisconsin State Statute titled: “36.27(3p) FEE REMISSION FOR VETERANS., 36.27(3p)(a)1r. (intro.) “Veteran” means a person who is verified by the department of veterans affairs as being a resident of this state for purposes of receiving benefits under ch. 45; as being a resident of this state at the time of his or her entry into the U.S. armed forces or forces incorporated in the U.S. armed forces or as being a resident of this state for at least 5 consecutive years immediately preceding the beginning of any semester or session for which the person registers at an institution; and as meeting any of the following conditions:”

Wisconsin has the best veterans’ benefit package in the country. When contrasting non-citizens’ vs. veterans’ benefits, my priorities have been and will always be for our veterans who’ve sworn an oath, fought, and sacrificed for ensuring our nation’s freedom and safety.