States with The Best Education Benefits For Veterans

Education benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are distributed to almost a million veterans each year throughout all 50 states and additional U.S territories such as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. These monetary benefits can typically be used for tuition costs, tutors, books, and housing costs for both public and private learning institutions.

As with all veterans benefits programs offered by the VA, each state has its eligibility requirements for all applicants. Each state also has its hard specific list of benefits available along with the maximum monetary amount eligible veterans may receive.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill allows for the total amount of in-state tuition to be covered for each academic year, and up to $26,000 paid for each academic year spent at a private or foreign institution. As we mentioned before, each state has its own benefits available to eligible veterans. In this article, we are going to talk about the states with the most lucrative education benefits for veterans with tuition coverage being of top priority.


Veterans who are permanent residents in Connecticut may be eligible to receive a total tuition waiver eliminating the most costly part of higher education. This tuition waiver can be used at any of the state universities or one of the 12 approved Community and Technical colleges. It is important to note, however, this veteran’s benefit can only be applied to tuition costs and excludes other fees such as housing costs, books, and course fees. These are paid by the veteran themself each academic year.

For veterans to be eligible for the tuition waiver, they must meet certain requirements. First of all, the veteran in question must have served at least 90 days of active duty during wartime while receiving an honorable discharge at the end of their service. The veteran must also be able to prove they have been a permanent resident of Connecticut for at least 1 full year before applying to school. And the final criteria that must be met for veterans to receive a tuition waiver requires the veteran to have been accepted into a college or university in a degree-seeking program.


Texas is known for having some of the best veterans benefits across all VA benefits programs, and education is no exception! Veterans residing in Texas who have exhausted all other education benefits offered by the government are entitled to additional monetary aid through the Hazelwood Act. The Hazelwood Act provides up to 150 credit hours in tuition exception which includes most enrollment fees. This money can be used at most public institutions in the state of Texas. As with many other states, the money received through the Hazelwood Act cannot be used for housing costs, books, or other expenses associated with higher education.

Eligibility for the Hazelwood Act requires all veterans to have served at least 181 days of active duty while receiving an honorable discharge at the end of their service. Applying veterans must also be completely free of additional student loan debt with all of their previous education benefits completely exhausted if receiving any.


Veterans who are legal residents of Massachusetts may be eligible for a full-tuition waiver when attending any state university or college within the state. This gives veterans a wider range of options when it comes to picking out the right school for them. The tuition waiver can be used for all undergraduate programs along with most certificate programs for specific trades.

Education benefits for veterans vary for availability and may not be available at the time of applying. Veterans must be able to produce all necessary documentation to prove their eligibility before being accepted for the tuition waiver. This tuition waiver is used to cover the full or partial amount of tuition but may not cover additional expenses and fees upon acceptance into a college or university.


Florida has one of the highest veteran populations in all of the United States and its’ territories. Florida’s tuition waiver for qualified veterans covers the complete tuition cost of all universities and colleges, excluding additional costs such as housing and textbooks. Unlike other state’s education benefits, eligible veterans have the choice of attending an in-state or out-of-state college or university.

These education benefits are allocated to veterans who have received a distinguished award such as the Purple Heart, Medal of Honor, Navy Cross/Air Force Cross/Distinguished Service Cross Award, Distriguishes Flying Cross, Silver Star Legion of Merrit with Combat V, Distinguished Service Medal with Combat V, or the Bronze Star with Combat V.

Veterans who are looking to apply for the complete tuition waiver must be legal residents of Florida and should have received an Honorable Discharge at the end of their service.


The Illinois Veteran’s Grant supplies payment for up to 120 academic credit hours at all in-state universities and colleges for eligible veterans. This grant will also cover all mandatory fees required by the school of choice. Eligibility standards for interested veterans are similar to those in other states. The veteran in question must have received an Honorable Discharge and returned to Illinois within 6 months of discharge. The veteran must have also lived in Illinois as a legal resident for at least 6 months before their service started. 

One full year of active duty service must have been completed by the veteran or the veteran must have served active duty in a hostile country, with no limits on time served.

New York

Education benefits in New York come in the form of Veteran Tuition Awards (VTA), a program run and operated by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC). Veterans who receive VTA are eligible to attend full-time or part-time schooling at an approved college, university, or vocational training program completely free of all costs. VTA will cover the costs and fees during all 4 years of undergraduate studies, 3 years of graduate studies, or 2 years of vocational training.

Veterans who receive an Honorable Discharged, required by the HESC, must also be one of the following:

  • A Vietnam Veteran who served active duty in Indochina between February 28, 1961, and May 7, 175.
  • A veteran who served in the Persian Gulf on or after August 2, 1990
  • A veteran who served in Afghanistan on or after September 11, 2001


  • A veteran who served in hostilities that were engaged after February 28, 1961, that received and has a receipt of receiving either an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, or Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal

New Mexico

All veterans who have served in combat since 1990 are eligible to apply for the Wartime Veteran Scholarship Fund, New Mexico’s education benefit program for veterans. Veterans who are looking to apply for this scholarship must have been permanent residents in New Mexico for at least 10 years and have no remaining funds available to them from their GI Bill benefits.

The Wartime Veteran Scholarship Fund covers all tuition and textbook costs for both undergraduate and graduate programs at any in-state public college or university. Much like other scholarships, funds vary in availability and are dispersed on a first-come, first-served basis upon acceptance.

Veterans who are looking to apply for the Wartime Veteran Scholarship Fund are required to have received a medal for their time served. Examples of notable medals accepted for this scholarship fund include:

  • Southwest Asia Service Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
  • Iraq Campaign Medal
  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal


  • Any other approved medal issued during any armed conflict since 1990

New Mexico also offers a Vietnam Veteran Scholarship available to legal residents who have lived in New Mexico for at least 10 years and were issued either the Vietnam Campaign Medal or Vietnam Service Medal for their time spent in the Vietnam War.

Checking Local Regulations

While many states offer exceptional education benefits for veterans, some have no benefits programs at all. Visiting or calling your local VA office is the quickest way to find out exactly which benefits are available for veterans looking to pursue higher education at an accredited university, college, or vocational school.

Education benefits should be understood by all veterans in order to take advantage of the programs set in place to help them learn a new skill or start down a new career path. If you qualify for veterans benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), you also qualify for Lifeline service. Lifeline is a federal benefit program that makes it possible for low-income consumers to receive access to free or heavily discounted communication services. Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.