States That Offer Free Tuition for Veterans

Updated: November 9, 2022

Table of Contents

    Exhausted your federal GI Bill or transferred it to a dependent? You may still be eligible for education benefits –including free tuition – even if you have no federal benefits left.

    Many states offer free tuition benefits for veterans who meet certain criteria. We’ve made a list of them so that you don’t have to.

    Below you’ll find qualifying criteria for each state’s programs, according to each state government website. You’ll also find links to each program’s application information.

    Many states also offer free tuition to eligible dependents of military members. You can check out our article that lists these programs here.

    Alabama Free College Tuition for Veterans

    Alabama’s public two-year and four-year postsecondary technical colleges, community colleges and universities may waive tuition and fees for recipients of the Purple Heart Medal.

    You must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree or certificate program to qualify.

    How to Apply for Alabama’s Purple Heart Tuition Waiver

    To apply, submit supporting documentation to the public institution you plan to attend.

    Read about more Alabama state veterans benefits here and see Alabama BAH rates.

    Arizona Free College Tuition for Veterans

    The Arizona Purple Heart Tuition Waiver provides qualifying veterans with tuition-free education at any public state university or community college.

    To qualify, you must be a resident veteran who has at least a 50% VA disability rating and received a Purple Heart medal.

    Arizona National Guardsmen are also eligible if they received a medical discharge for a line-of-duty injury or received a Purple Heart after Sept. 11, 2001.

    How to Apply for Arizona’s Purple Heart Tuition Waiver

    To apply, complete the Tuition Waiver and Verification Form and email it to [email protected]. You can also mail the application to the address provided on the form.

    Read about more Arizona state veterans benefits here. See Arizona BAH rates.

    Connecticut Free College Tuition For Veterans

    Connecticut offers college tuition waivers for qualified veterans attending any state university or one of Connecticut’s 12 community or technical colleges. This benefit applies to tuition expenses for undergraduate and graduate programs but excludes course fees, books, parking and living expenses.

    You qualify if you meet the following criteria:

    • Served 90 days on active duty during wartime
    • Received an honorable discharge
    • Were a Connecticut state resident for one year before applying to the college
    • Received admission to a degree or certificate program

    How to Apply for Connecticut’s Tuition Waiver

    If you’re attending the University of Connecticut, apply at the university’s Veterans Affairs webpage. If you’re attending Connecticut State University, visit the university’s Veterans Admission webpage.

    Contact the school’s admission office for details if attending one of the 12 Connecticut community and technical colleges.

    Read about more Connecticut state veterans benefits here. See Connecticut BAH rates.

    Florida Free College Tuition For Veterans

    Florida offers qualifying veterans free undergraduate tuition at state universities and community colleges. This benefit excludes costs associated with textbooks, housing and food.

    This Florida state military educational benefit is available to residents who received the Purple Heart or a combat decoration superior in precedence.

    Qualifying awards include:

    • Medal of Honor
    • Navy Cross/Air Force Cross/Distinguished Service Cross
    • Distinguished Service Medal with Combat V
    • Silver Star Legion of Merit with Combat V
    • Distinguished Flying Cross
    • Bronze Star with Combat V

    How to Apply for Florida’s Free Undergraduate Tuition for Veterans

    You can apply through your institution’s financial aid office.

    Read about more Florida state veterans benefits here. See Florida BAH rates.

    Illinois Free College Tuition For Veterans

    The Illinois Veteran Grant Program offers Illinois veterans free tuition and select fee waivers at Illinois state colleges and universities.

    To qualify, you must:

    • Have a minimum of one year of service
    • Have an honorable discharge
    • Be an Illinois resident six months prior to active service or for at least 15 consecutive years after active duty
    • Return to Illinois within six months of leaving military service

    How to Apply for the Illinois Veteran Grant Program

    You can contact one of the VSO Offices of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs for an application and additional information.

    Read about more Illinois state veterans benefits here. See Illinois BAH rates.

    Indiana Free College Tuition For Veterans

    Indiana offers tuition and fee exemptions for up to 124 credit hours at a state-sponsored college or university.

    Qualifying veterans must meet have:

    • Received a Purple Heart
    • Entered active duty as a resident of Indiana or lived in Indiana after discharge for at least five years
    • An honorable discharge

    To prove your Purple Heart status, you can show your DD-214, DD-215 or other proof you received a Purple Heart if it’s not listed on these documents.

    How to Apply for Indiana’s Tuition and Fee Exemption

    You can apply for this benefit on Scholar Track. If you don’t already have an account, you can request one by clicking the “Register for an account” link.

    Read about more Indiana state veterans benefits here. See Indiana BAH rates.

    Maryland Free College Tuition for Veterans

    Maryland’s Edward T. Conroy and Mary A. Conroy Memorial Scholarship provides tuition assistance and other educational expenses to veterans attending an institution of higher learning in Maryland.

    Eligible veterans include:

    • Veterans with a VA disability rating of 25% or greater
    • Veterans designated as Prisoners of War or Missing in Action (POW/MIA) by the Department of Defense

    You must also have exhausted your federal veterans benefits or lor lost eligibility for them.

    Maryland Memorial Scholarship Application Information

    Contact your school’s financial aid office for application instructions.

    Read about more Maryland state veterans benefits here. See Maryland BAH rates.

    Massachusetts Free College Tuition For Veterans

    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers a tuition waiver to all veterans and active-duty service members who are permanent and legal residents of Massachusetts.

    Veterans can use this waiver at any Massachusetts state college or university.

    How to Apply for the Massachusetts Tuition Waiver

    To apply for the waiver, you must present documentation to your institution’s Veterans Certifying Official, such as your separation papers or a copy of your orders. Then complete the Categorical Tuition Waiver.

    Read about more Massachusetts state veterans benefits here. See Massachusetts BAH rates.

    Montana Free College Tuition For Veterans

    Montana offers qualifying veterans free tuition at state schools for up to 12 semesters. You must be a state resident and have no remaining federal GI Bill benefits.

    To qualify for free tuition, you must:

    • Have received an honorable discharge
    • Have served in an approved war zone or campaign
    • Have already exhausted your federal GI-Bill benefits
    • Be seeking your first certificate or undergraduate degree

    How to Apply for Montana’s Free Tuition Waiver

    To apply, complete the Honorably Discharged Veteran Tuition Waiver and provide all supporting documentation to your campus Financial Aid Office.

    Read about more Montana state veterans benefits here. See Montana BAH rates.

    New Mexico Free College Tuition For Veterans

    Wartime Veteran Scholarship Fund

    The Wartime Veteran Scholarship Fund is available to veterans who served in combat after 1990 and have exhausted federal GI Bill benefits. The scholarship is available on a first-come, first-served basis while funds last.

    You can use this scholarship to pay tuition and book expenses for undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

    You qualify if you:

    • Are a New Mexico resident
    • Received the Southwest Asia Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal or any other medal issued for service in support of any other approved US Military campaign or armed conflict since 1990

    How to Apply for New Mexico’s Wartime Veteran Scholarship

    To apply, complete the Wartime Veterans Scholarship Application and mail it with accompanying documents to the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services.

    Vietnam Veteran Scholarship

    The Vietnam Veteran Scholarship will pay full tuition and books at any state-funded postsecondary school.

    You qualify if you:

    • Have been a New Mexico resident for 10 years or was a resident at the time of entry into the armed forces
    • Served in the Vietnam War and was issued the Vietnam Campaign or Vietnam Service Medal

    How to Apply for New Mexico’s Vietnam Veterans Scholarship

    To apply, complete the Vietnam Veterans Scholarship Application and mail it with accompanying documents to the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services.

    Read about more New Mexico state veterans benefits here. See New Mexico BAH rates.

    New York Free College Tuition For Veterans

    New York State offers Veteran Tuition Awards to qualified residents for in-state undergraduate tuition at New York public colleges and vocational training institutions.

    You can receive up to ten semesters of undergraduate study, six semesters of graduate study or four semesters of study in an approved vocational training program.

    To qualify, you must have been honorably discharged and are a:

    • Vietnam Veteran who served in Indochina between Feb. 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975
    • Persian Gulf Veteran who served in the Persian Gulf on or after Aug. 2, 1990
    • Afghanistan Veteran who served in Afghanistan on or after Sept.11, 2001
    • Served in hostilities that occurred after Fe. 28, 1961 and received an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal or Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal

    How to Apply for New York’s Veteran Tuition Awards

    To apply, complete and submit the Veterans Tuition Award Application, with required documentation. In addition, you must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and New York’s tuition assistance program application.

    Read about more New York state veterans benefits here. See New York BAH rates.

    Rhode Island Free College Tuition For Veterans

    You can use Rhode Island’s Disabled Veterans Tuition Waiver at public colleges and universities. The waiver covers tuition but not the cost of books and fees.

    To qualify for the benefit, you must have a VA disability rating of at least 10%. You must also be a permanent resident of Rhode Island and exhaust federal GI Bill and financial aid programs first.

    Rhode Island Tuition Waiver Application Information

    To apply, visit the financial aid office at the institution you are attending.

    Read about more Rhode Island state veterans benefits here. See Rhode Island BAH rates.

    South Dakota Free College Tuition For Veterans

    Qualifying veterans who do not have available GI Bill funds or any other federal tuition assistance may be eligible to receive free tuition at South Dakota universities and technical colleges.

    Veterans may receive one month of free tuition for each month of qualifying service for up to four academic years.

    You qualify for the free tuition if you received an honorable discharge and are a current South Dakota resident.

    You must also meet South Dakota’s definition of veteran status through one of the following:

    • Served on active duty since Aug. 2, 1990
    • Received an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or other United States campaign or service medal for combat operations against hostile forces overseas.
    • Have a Veterans Affairs-rated service-connected disability rated 10% or more.

    How to Apply for Free Tuition at South Dakota Universities and Technical Colleges

    To apply, complete the application and submit it along with supporting documentation to the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Read about more South Dakota state veterans benefits here. See South Dakota BAH rates.

    Tennessee Free College Tuition For Veterans

    The Helping Heroes Grant awards military members and honorably-discharged veterans up to $1,000 per semester.

    To qualify, you must have been a Tennessee resident for one year before completing the grant application. Veterans must also complete at least 12 credit hours semester to receive the full $1,000 award.

    Students enrolled in six to 11 credit hours may receive up to $500 per semester.

    How to Apply for Tenneesee’s Helping Heroes Grant

    To apply, register for access to the TSAC Student Portal. The portal will allow you to apply for the grant and upload supporting documentation to prove eligibility.

    Read about more Tennessee state veterans benefits here. See Tennessee BAH rates.

    Texas Free College Tuition For Veterans

    Texas offers benefits through the Hazelwood Act. This benefit provides qualified veterans an education benefit of up to 150 hours of tuition exemption and most fee charges at public Texas colleges. The exemption does not include living expenses, books or supply fees.

    To qualify, you must have:

    • Served 181 days or more on active duty
    • Received an honorable discharge
    • Have no federal Veterans education benefits remaining
    • Met residency requirements

    How to Apply for Texas Education Benefits

    After you are accepted to the institution of your choice, complete the Hazlewood Exemption Application Form and take it to your financial aid office with the required documentation.

    Read about more Texas state veterans benefits here. See Texas BAH rates.

    Utah Free College Tuition For Veterans

    Utah offers multiple programs to qualifying veterans and military dependents.

    State of Utah Purple Heart Tuition Waiver

    Purple Heart recipients can apply for a tuition waiver at all public colleges and universities in Utah. You can use this tuition benefit for undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

    How to Apply for Utah’s Purple Heart Tuition Waiver

    To receive this waiver, submit proof of your Purple Heart to your school’s financial aid office.

    Utah Veterans Tuition Gap Program

    In 2014, the State of Utah began the Veterans Tuition Gap Program. It allows qualifying military veterans to receive tuition assistance for the final year of their bachelor’s degree program, provided they have already exhausted their federal GI Bill benefits.

    How to Apply for Utah’s Veterans Tuition Gap Program

    You can apply for this benefit through the financial aid office at your school.

    Read about more Utah state veterans benefits here. See Utah BAH rates.

    Washington Free College Tuition For Veterans

    Washington state colleges establish their own waiver programs for eligible resident veterans. Washington state law allows a waiver for qualified veterans up to the total amount of tuition and fees at participating schools.

    More Information on Washington Veteran Tuition Waivers

    Since each college or university establishes and operates its own veteran’s waiver program, it’s best to contact the financial aid office of the school you plan to attend for further details and application information.

    Read about more Washington state veterans benefits here. See Washington BAH rates.

    West Virginia Free College Tuition For Veterans

    The Medal of Honor and Andrew J. Trail Purple Heart Recipient Tuition Waiver provides free tuition and mandatory fees for residents who have received the Medal of Honor or Purple Heart. The waiver provides eight semesters of free tuition at all West Virginia public institutions of higher education.

    How to Apply for Free College Tuition in West Virginia

    To apply, visit the financial aid office at the institution you are attending.

    Read about more West Virginia state veterans benefits here. West Virginia BAH rates.

    Wisconsin Free College Tuition For Veterans

    Wisconsin offers a State GI Bill enabling qualifying Wisconsin veterans to attend public postsecondary educational institutions tuition-free. The program provides full waivers of tuition and fees for up to eight semesters or 128 credit hours. You can use this state benefit for undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

    To qualify, you must:

    • Have received an honorable discharge
    • Met all military service and residency requirements

    You can read more about this benefit in this online brochure.

    How to Apply for the Wisconsin GI Bill

    To apply, visit the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs online portal and create an account. You must enter all required information and upload supporting documents that prove your eligibility.

    If you are eligible, you will receive a certificate of eligibility. You will need the certificate to apply for the Wisconsin GI Bill reimbursement through your institution.

    Read about more Wisconsin state veterans benefits here. See Wisconsin BAH rates.

    Wyoming Free College Tuition For Veterans

    Wyoming offers free tuition and fees for qualifying resident veterans. The tuition waiver is available for eight semesters over eight years while attending the University of Wyoming or Wyoming community colleges.

    You qualify for free tuition if you:

    • Served in Vietnam between Aug. 5, 1964 and May 7, 1975, and received the Vietnam Service Medal
    • Are an overseas combat veteran who received an honorable discharge and the Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or other authorized service or campaign medal indicating service to the United States in any armed conflict in a foreign country.

    How to Apply for Wyoming’s Free Tuition for Veterans

    To apply, visit your institution’s Financial Aid Office, complete the Educational Assistance application and provide all required documents as evidence of eligibility.

    Read about more Wyoming state veterans benefits here. See Wyoming BAH rates.


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