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Not Everyone Who Lives Here Gets In-State Tuition Break

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FAYETTEVILLE — If you live in North Carolina, you probably expect to be able to pay in-state tuition at our colleges and universities. But some members of our communities don't enjoy that benefit.

Sgt. Leslie Wack works in the Occupational Health Clinic at Fort Bragg during the day. At night, she's studying to become an accountant.

Even though she has lived in Fayetteville for more than three years, her permanent residence is in Ohio.

As a soldier, she is forced to pay out-of-state tuition at Fayetteville State University.

"I feel like I do deserve in-state tuition because we do support the community," Wack says.

The chancellor of Fayetteville State agrees. He has asked N.C. Senator Tony Rand for help.

Rand is sponsoring a bill that would allow the military to pay in-state tuition at North Carolina community colleges and state universities.

He doesn't think low military salaries and the high cost of out-of-state tuition should prevent a soldier from getting a degree.

"If we can help them to further their education, to better prepare themselves for what's coming along," Rand says, "I think it's something we need to do to show them we support them."

If passed, the new law would produce savings for the military's tuition assistance budget and also save soldiers thousands of dollars.

Wack's tuition bill, for example, would decrease more than $680 per credit hour.

"Being in the military and being single, there are financial constraints...it will ease the burden of financial responsibility."

Currently more than 800 Fort Bragg soldiers take classes through Fayetteville State. If the bill becomes law, more soldiers are expected to enroll in classes here in Fayetteville and at other universities statewide. Melissa Buscher WRAL TV5 News.

Rand estimates the bill would require about $1 million in appropriations.


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