Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act 2014 (VACA H.R. 3230)

In August 2014, President Obama signed the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACA Act”), into law(Public Law No.: 113-146). Section 702 of the VACA Act (38 U.S.C. 3679(c)) requires the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to disapprove programs of education under the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB-AD) and Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit programs (Chapters 30 or 33, respectively, of Title 38, U.S. Code) at institutions of higher learning if the school charges qualifying veterans and dependents (“covered individuals”) tuition and fees in excess of the in-state rate for resident students for terms beginning after July 1, 2015. A “covered individual” is defined in the VACA Act as:

1.A Veteran who lives in the state in which the institution of higher learning is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and enrolls in the school within three years of discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.

2.A spouse or child entitled to transferred education benefits who lives in the state in which the institution of higher learning is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and enrolls in the school within 3 years of the transferor’s discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.

3.A spouse or child using benefits under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (provides Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to the children and surviving spouses of service members who died in the line of duty while on active duty) who lives in the state in which the institution of higher learning is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and enrolls in the school within three years of the Service member’s death in the line of duty following a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.

4.After expiration of the three year period following discharge or death as described in 38 U.S.C. 3679(c), a student who initially qualifies under the applicable requirements above will maintain “covered individual” status as long as he or she remains continuously enrolled (other than during regularly scheduled breaks between courses, semesters or terms) at the institution, even if they enroll in multiple programs and shall continue to be exempt from paying nonresident tuition and other fees as described in the updated fee policy described below.

Use this guide to determine if your nonresident status may be changed to resident status for tuition and fees purposes.

Deadlines to Submit Documentation to Prove Residency

The Supplemental Residency Questionnaire PDF Fileand supporting documents should be submitted prior to the start of the term the student is requesting to be reclassified as a resident. 

Definition of Resident and Nonresident for Tuition Purposes

  • Resident:
    Unless precluded, a “resident” is a student who has been physically present in the state for more than one year immediately preceding the residence determination date (one year and one day) for a term and has demonstrated an intent to make California a permanent home. EC § 68017
  • Nonresident:
    A “nonresident” is a student who does not have residency in the state for more than one year immediately preceding the residence determination date for a term. EC § 68018

Residency Requirements

To establish residency, a student needs to meet the three conditions below, subject to verification by submitting the Supplemental Residency Questionnaire PDF File and supporting documentation. The burden of proof to demonstrate legal status, physical presence, intent to establish residency in California and financial independence is on the student (EC 68041).

  1. Legal Status that permits the establishment of domicile in the United States. Essentially, the student must be a US Citizen, Permanent Resident, eligible Temporary Resident, hold eligible Visa, etc. Legal status must be sustained for at least one year plus one day prior to the start of the term. This date is known as the Residency Determination Date (Title 5 § 54045).
  2. Physical presence is proved by being physically and continuously present in California for one year plus one day prior to the start of the term (the Residency Determination Date). (Title 5 § 54020 and § 54022).
  3. Intent is proven by providing evidence demonstrating intent to make California a permanent home of residence (see "Acceptable Proofs" section below). Taking any of these actions (not an exhaustive list) demonstrates a lack of intent to make California a permanent home of residence: filing taxes in another state as a resident of that state; filing for divorce or a lawsuit in another state; paying resident tuition in another state; voting in another state. Moving to California for educational purposes alone does not grant residency (Education Code, Section 68062(d)).
  4. To establish or change a residence, a person capable of establishing residence must couple their physical presence with objective evidence that the physical presence is with intent to make California the home for other than a temporary purpose. EC §68062(d); Note: Physical presence alone is insufficient; intent alone is insufficient.

Conduct Inconsistent with Claim on California Residency

Some examples include:

  • Possessing a driver’s license or state identification, and/or vehicle registration in another state.
  • Being a petitioner in a divorce or lawsuit as a resident in another state.
  • Attending an out-of-state educational institution as a resident of that state.
  • Declaring nonresidence for California income tax purposes.
  • Presence in the United States as a citizen of another country with a nonresident visa.

Submission of Residency Questionnaire and Documents

  • Please submit the completed and signed Supplemental Residency Questionnaire PDF file and as many documents necessary to prove California residency to Admissions & Records.
  • The Residency Questionnaire  and supporting documentation may be emailed to veteranservices@elac.edu
  • Proofs must be scanned and submitted as a PDF document, Use a free app such as Scannable (for iOS) or ClearScanner (for Android) to prepare a PDF.
  • Documents will be reviewed in the order they are received and may take up to fourteen business days to process. Students are encouraged to submit their documents as early as possible to avoid any delays in processing.