The State of Texas offers tuition exemption for qualifying veterans thanks to state legislation there known as the Hazlewood Act. This law offers benefits for veterans and (depending on circumstances) dependents and military spouses.
Hazelwood Act benefits are good at any state-supported college for up to 150 credit hours of waived tuition. The program’s features include:
- Waived tuition and fees for up to 150 credit hours of coursework.
- A 2009 “legacy” law permits veterans to transfer unused credit hours to dependent children.
- In situations where the eligible veteran dies (or becomes disabled as a result of military service) the surviving spouses and dependents may be eligible for 150 hours of tuition waivers.
- This program is not intended to cover books, living expenses, or related fees.
- You cannot qualify for this program if you have a Dishonorable discharge.
History of the Hazelwood Act
In 1923, the Texas Legislature drew up a plan for public universities and other state-supported higher education facilities to cover college expenses for veterans of World War One. The Hazelwood Act is named after the late Senator Grady Hazelwood, who was a University of Texas Law grad; his work to upgrade the World War One-era legislation in the 1940s included new provisions for those who had served in World War Two.
Today, the Act continues to serve American veterans and family members. The law contains provisions to exclude those who already have eligibility for other federal tuition benefits to avoid providing excess funds to those who don’t need the financial assistance. The law also excludes those with military discharges classified as Dishonorable.
How To Qualify For Hazelwood Act Tuition Waviers
To be considered for the 150 hours of tuition waivers offered to qualifying veterans under the Hazelwood Act, the veteran must have Texas designated as the home of record when entering military service OR:
- Entered the service in Texas OR
- was a Texas resident
Additionally, all applicants must have served 181 days of active service excluding training periods. Other requirements:
- Have received an honorable discharge OR
- Received a separation or a general discharge under honorable conditions
- Must currently live in Texas
- Have no federal Veteran’s education benefits OR
- Have no federal Veterans education benefits dedicated to the payment of tuition and fees only “for term or semester enrolled that do not exceed the value of Hazlewood benefits”
Who Is Excluded?
You cannot qualify for these benefits if:
- You are in default on a student loan made or guaranteed by the State of Texas
- You do not meet the GPA requirement of the institution’s satisfactory academic progress policy
- You are an undergraduate student who has attempted “an excessive amount of credit hours”
- You are attending a non-state supported school
Qualifying Rules For Dependents And Spouses
Spouses and dependents may qualify for these military education benefits. This is true for eligible military members who were serving as:
- Active Duty
- Texas National Guard
AND who died in the line of duty “or as a result of injury or illness directly related to military service, are missing in action, or who became totally disabled for purposes of employability as a result of a service-related injury or illness.” Those who meet these guidelines “are entitled to each receive 150 credit hours exemption.”
For spouses to qualify, they must be the spouse of a Veteran who meets the eligibility criteria listed above. Or:
- You must be the spouse of a Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or the Texas National Guard who died as a result of service-related injuries or illness.
- You are the spouse of a servicemember missing in action, or who is totally disabled (100%) as a result of service-related injury or illness.
- You are the spouse of a servicemember entitled to receive compensation at the 100% rate due to individual unemployability (IU) due to a permanent service connected injury or illness.
- There are no federal Veterans education benefits, or no federal Veterans education benefits “dedicated to the payment of tuition and fees only.”
- You are classified by the school as a Texas resident.
For dependent children to qualify they must be the children of a veteran who meets basic program eligibility. Or:
- You are the child of a Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, Texas National Guard, or Texas Air National Guard who died as a result of service-related injuries or illness.
- You are the child of someone missing in action, or totally disabled (100%) as a result of a service-related injury or illness.
- You are the child of a veteran who is entitled to receive compensation at the 100% rate due to individual unemployability (IU) due to a permanent service connected injury or illness.
- You have no federal Veterans education benefits, or have no federal Veterans education benefits dedicated to the payment of tuition and fees only.
How to Apply For Hazelwood Act Education Benefits
To apply, you must first be accepted into a state-sponsored Texas college or university. You can use the centralized Apply Texas platform to do this; this website is a joint venture between the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the colleges and universities represented on Apply Texas official site. You may also be able to apply via your college.
When submitting application paperwork, be sure to have the following ready:
- Proof of military discharge (DD Form 214 or equivalent)
- Provide proof of eligibility or ineligibility for GI Bill benefits
- Complete the Hazlewood Exemption application form
- Turn in the Hazlewood Exemption application, plus a copy of your letter of eligibility/ineligibility, and a copy of your DD214 into the financial aid office of your school
- Applications and all supporting documentation must be received by the institution no later than the last day of class
What You Need To Know
You may be required to submit a continuation of enrollment form or statement; these benefits may not be claimed once with the expectation that they continue automatically. Ask your admissions rep what is currently required to continue using your benefits after the initial enrollment.
The official site for the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) where you sign up for these benefits advises that some applicants have had difficulty completing or submitting forms via the official site. If you encounter technical problems on the TVC Veterans And Students Page, contact your college to ask how you can submit thru the school instead.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News
|State Veteran’s Benefits||Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)|
|FAFSA Veteran Education Benefits||Military & Veteran Education Benefits|
|VA Education Benefits For Dependents||Education Options for Military Spouses|