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A Message from the President of Austin Community College
Recent news reports about a U.S. Marine veteran being ineligible for in-state tuition at Austin Community College or any other public higher education institution in Texas have raised some questions about state residency law. While ACC honors all who serve our country, and is committed to helping them achieve access to higher education, it is important that all relevant information be considered.
First, this is not a widespread problem applicable to all who have served their country. This is an individual situation involving one person who lived in another state before entering the military and who listed the other state – not Texas – as his permanent address in military records.
Texas residency is guided by state law, as reflected in the Texas Education Code. As a taxpayer-funded college, ACC is not able to pick the laws with which it complies. Additionally, this type of situation is complicated when a resident moves out of Texas for several years prior to entering the military, enlists in the military in another state, and lists that state as a home of record and permanent address in all military papers.
Contrary to some reports, ACC has assisted the student with his fall enrollment. Yet again, we are not able to ignore the state law which guides residency designation. The law mandates we treat all applicants equally. ACC has applied the current state residency law to the student in question, made many calls on his behalf to ensure that any documentation needed to comply with the law was understood, and confirmed with him his eligibility to receive Pell Grant and VA educational assistance. If public elected officials choose to change Texas’ public policy on residency to make it even more flexible for those who serve their country in the military, ACC would certainly be supportive.