The Hazelwood Act: College Aid for Texas Veterans

May 23, 2024 ---- Category: General Knowledge

If you’re a veteran living in Texas, you may qualify for valuable education benefits through the Hazelwood Act. This state program provides qualified veterans, their spouses, and dependents with exemption from tuition and required fees at Texas public colleges and universities. Let’s take a closer look at what the Hazelwood Act is, who is eligible, and how to take advantage of this opportunity.

What is the Hazelwood Act?

The Hazelwood Act is a State of Texas benefit that provides qualified Veterans, spouses, and dependent children with an education benefit of up to 150 hours of tuition exemption, including most fee charges, at public institutions of higher education in Texas. This does NOT include living expenses, books, or supply fees.

In other words, if you meet the Hazelwood Act eligibility requirements, you can attend a Texas public college or university tuition-free for up to 150 semester credit hours. This is a substantial benefit that can save you tens of thousands in education costs.

Hazelwood Act Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for Hazelwood Act benefits, Veterans must:

  • At the time of entry into active duty the U.S. Armed Forces, designated Texas as Home of Record, or entered the service in Texas, or was a Texas resident;
  • Have received an honorable discharge or separation or a general discharge under honorable conditions;
  • Served at least 181 days of active duty service (excluding training);
  • Have no federal Veteran’s education benefits, or have no federal Veterans education benefits dedicated to the payment of tuition and fees only (such as Chapter 33 or 31) for term or semester enrolled that do not exceed the value of Hazelwood benefits;
  • Not be in default on a student loan made or guaranteed by the State of Texas;
  • Enroll in classes for which the college receives tax support (i.e., a course that does not depend solely on student tuition and fees to cover its costs).

Spouses and dependent children of eligible Veterans 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 are entitled to each receive a 150 credit hour exemption.

What the Hazelwood Act Covers 

The Hazelwood Act covers your tuition and required fees at any public college or university in Texas, up to 150 semester credit hours. This includes:

  • State-supported general academic teaching institutions
  • Medical and dental units
  • Texas State Technical College campuses
  • Community and junior colleges

While the Hazelwood Act provides a generous tuition exemption, it’s important to note that it does NOT cover:

  • Living expenses
  • Books and supplies
  • Deposit fees
  • Course fees that are not required for enrollment

Applying for Hazelwood Act Benefits 

To apply for Hazelwood Act benefits, you’ll need to submit the Hazlewood Act Exemption Application along with supporting documentation to your college or university. Required documents include:

  • Your DD214 showing character of service and Texas as your home of record at time of entry
  • A letter from the VA indicating you have no remaining education benefits (if applicable)
  • Proof of eligibility for the current term

Make sure to submit your application early, as it can take time to process. Stay in touch with your school’s Veteran services office to ensure they have all the documentation needed.

Using Your Hazelwood Act Benefits 

You can use your Hazelwood Act hours for credit-bearing undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs at Texas public colleges and universities. Technical and continuing education courses are also eligible if the school receives state tax support for the courses.

If you still have federal GI Bill benefits remaining, you are required to exhaust those benefits before using the Hazelwood Act. However, you CAN combine Hazelwood and GI Bill benefits in the same semester as long as the value of your GI Bill benefits doesn’t exceed the Hazelwood Act tuition exemption value.

The Hazelwood Act allows unused hours to be transferred to a qualified child (but not spouse). Eligible children must be 25 years old or younger on the first day of the semester, meet certain Texas residency requirements, make satisfactory academic progress, and not have a felony conviction involving a controlled substance.

Special Provisions for Disabled Veterans

 If you are a Veteran who is eligible for the Hazelwood Act and rated 100% disabled for employability by the VA, there are two special provisions:

  1. You are entitled to the 150 hours of Hazelwood Act benefits with no age limit on transferability to a child.
  2. If you are 100% disabled, you are entitled to a tuition exemption for you and/or your dependents FOREVER. This means if you, your spouse, and/or your child use up the 150 hour benefit, you are still eligible for tuition and fee exemption if you continue to meet all other requirements.

In Conclusion

The Hazelwood Act provides a fantastic education opportunity for Texas Veterans and their families. If you meet the eligibility requirements, make sure to take advantage of this benefit to further your education and open up career opportunities.

Applying for the Hazelwood Act does require some paperwork and coordination with your school, but don’t let that deter you. This benefit can save you thousands of dollars on your degree.

If you need assistance appealing a denied disability claim, reach out to our team here at Veterans Disability Aid. Our experienced advocates can help you navigate the appeals process and secure the benefits you deserve.

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