2015 Tennessee Code
Title 49 - Education
Chapter 7 - Postsecondary and Higher Education Generally
Part 1 - Miscellaneous Provisions
§ 49-7-102 - Waiver of fees and tuition for dependents of POW's or deceased veterans -- Requirements.

TN Code § 49-7-102 (2015) What's This?

(a) Except as provided in subsection (e), every dependent child in this state under twenty-three (23) years of age, whose parent was killed, died as a direct result of injuries received or has been officially reported as being either a prisoner of war or missing in action while serving honorably as a member of the United States armed forces during a qualifying period of armed conflict or was formerly a prisoner of war or missing in action under such circumstances, or the spouse of such veteran, is entitled to a waiver of tuition, maintenance fees, student activity fees and required registration or matriculation fees and shall be admitted without cost to any of the institutions of higher education owned, operated and maintained by the state.

(b) (1) To be eligible for the educational assistance benefits established by this section, the dependent child or spouse shall:

(A) Present official certification from the United States government that the parent (father or mother) or spouse veteran was killed or died as a direct result of injuries received while serving honorably as a member of the United States armed forces during a qualifying period of armed conflict;

(B) Present official certification from the United States government that the parent (father or mother) or spouse veteran has been officially reported as being a prisoner of war or missing in action while serving honorably as a member of the United States armed forces during a qualifying period of armed conflict or was formerly a prisoner of war or missing in action under such circumstances as appropriate; or

(C) Present certificate of release or discharge from active duty, department of defense form 214 (DD 214), for the veteran or service member from whom the eligibility for the benefits established by this section derives.

(2) The deceased veteran, prisoner of war or missing in action service member from whom eligibility derives shall have been a citizen of this state at the time the veteran was killed, at the time the fatal injury was sustained by the veteran or at the time the service member was officially reported as being a prisoner of war or missing in action. The former prisoner of war from whom eligibility derives shall be a citizen of this state at the time the person's dependent child or spouse applies for the educational assistance benefits established by this section.

(3) The dependent child or spouse, prior to receiving the educational assistance benefits established by this section, shall have or possess the necessary qualifications required for admission to the appropriate state institution of higher education. To maintain eligibility for benefits, the dependent child or spouse shall be in active pursuit of a specific and declared degree or certificate program at the institution.

(4) A veteran's spouse's eligibility for the educational assistance benefits established by this section shall terminate ten (10) years after the death of the veteran from whom the eligibility for benefits derives; provided, that a veteran's spouse's eligibility for benefits shall terminate immediately upon the person's remarriage within the ten-year period.

(5) In cases where a student qualifies for the educational assistance benefits established by this section after the student has paid tuition and fees for a term, there shall be no refund of any moneys by the institution of higher education, including, but not limited to, paid tuition and fees.

(c) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Dependent child" means a natural or adopted child or stepchild of a veteran or service member whom the veteran or service member claims as a dependent for federal income tax purposes;

(2) "Parent" means the father or mother of a natural or adopted child or stepchild whom the parent claims as a dependent for federal income tax purposes;

(3) "Qualifying period of armed conflict" means any hostile military operation for which the following United States military campaign medals are individually authorized:

(A) Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal;

(B) Navy Expeditionary Medal;

(C) Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal;

(D) Combat Action Ribbon (Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard);

(E) Army Combat Infantryman Badge;

(F) Kosovo Campaign Medal with at least one (1) bronze star appurtenance for specific military campaign participation by the veteran;

(G) Southwest Asia Service Medal with at least one (1) bronze star appurtenance for specific military campaign participation by the veteran;

(H) Vietnam Service Medal with at least one (1) bronze star appurtenance for specific military campaign participation by the veteran;

(I) United States Department of Defense Prisoner of War Medal for former prisoners of war;

(J) Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal;

(K) Air Force Expeditionary Medal;

(L) Combat Medic Badge;

(M) Afghanistan Campaign Medal;

(N) Iraq Campaign Medal;

(O) Army Combat Action Badge; and

(P) Navy Submarine Combat Patrol & SSBN Deterrent Patrol Insignia;

(4) "Served honorably" means the character of service condition as reported on certificate of release or discharge from active duty, department of defense form 214;

(5) "Service member" means a Tennessee resident who is engaged in active military service of the United States;

(6) "State institution of higher education" means any postsecondary institution operated by the board of trustees of the University of Tennessee system or the board of regents that offers courses of instruction leading to a certificate or degree; and

(7) "Veteran" means a Tennessee resident who has entered and served honorably in the United States armed forces.

(d) This section shall apply to all state institutions of higher education beginning with the next registration or enrollment period for the next complete term after July 1, 2000.

(e) The age limitation provided for dependent children in subsection (a) shall not be strictly applied. To be eligible for the educational assistance benefits established by this section, a dependent child shall be matriculated as a full-time student at a state institution of higher education prior to attaining twenty-three (23) years of age. Once declared eligible, a dependent child shall remain eligible until one (1) of the following events has occurred:

(1) Prior to attaining twenty-three (23) years of age, the dependent child earns an undergraduate degree or certificate;

(2) The dependent child has earned one hundred thirty-five (135) semester hours, or the equivalent, excluding required remedial or developmental hours; or

(3) The dependent child has attempted one hundred fifty (150) semester hours, or the equivalent, inclusive of required remedial or developmental hours.

(f) A spouse eligible for the benefits established by this section shall complete an undergraduate degree or certificate program within the ten-year period established by subdivision (b)(4); provided, that the spouse's eligibility shall extend to the end of the term in which the ten-year period expires. A spouse who has previously earned an undergraduate degree or certificate shall not be eligible for benefits. Otherwise, the spouse shall be eligible for benefits until one (1) of the following events has occurred:

(1) Prior to the expiration of benefits, the spouse earns an undergraduate degree or certificate;

(2) The spouse has earned one hundred thirty-five (135) semester hours, or the equivalent, excluding required remedial or developmental hours; or

(3) The spouse has attempted one hundred fifty (150) semester hours, or the equivalent, inclusive of required remedial or developmental hours.

(g) (1) All public institutions of higher education shall publish notice of the veterans' dependents' education benefit program pursuant to this section in their catalogs and schedules of classes.

(2) Inclusion of the information shall be subject to annual review by the veterans' education division of the Tennessee higher education commission.

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