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A Different Kind of 4th

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By Stephen, on July 5, 2011

US Army Soldiers outside of Gomerai, Afghanistan

The clock on the wall is mocking me.  I know it.

It’s Friday before the long 4th of July weekend in what has been a long and, I’d say, very productive week.  Soon I will be off to North Carolina’s beautiful Outer Banks with my family for the long weekend.  Lounging on the beach, fishing in the surf, sleeping late, eating way too much food.  It’s going to be great.

If time would only hurry up.

This has been a productive week because I successful pitched a project (thank you, Setzer) which perfectly marries my interests in government and higher education, allows me to work with reams of data that should better hone my statistical skills, and is something in which I fully believe.

For the next month or so I will analyze what it would mean if North Carolina were to provide in-state tuition to soldiers who have recently separated from military service and are looking to attend state colleges or universities.

As it stands now, North Carolina offers in-state tuition to all service men and women while they are on active duty, regardless of where they are stationed or where they list their permanent residence.  But once they separate from the services the state looks to their permanent residence to determine what they will pay.  If they claimed another state as home they will have to pay out-of-state tuition, even if they were stationed at Fort Bragg or Camp Lejeune for the past decade.

I’m hoping to fix that.

So for the next few weeks I’ll be analyzing tuition rates, chronicling the Veteran population in North Carolina (which has the 3rd largest military footprint in the nation), and looking to other states to better understand the lay of the land.

It’s a lot, and there’s too much work to do before I can think about this weekend.  And now I know the clock is mocking me.

I’m sure this will be a fun Independence Day, just like many before.  But it will be a little different as I know my mind will keep drifting back to my work and to those in Afghanistan or Iraq who aren’t able to lounge, fish, and sleep late this 4th.

Know of higher education issues facing Veterans that the state should know about?  Please let me know by leaving a comment below.

Tags: General Assembly, Independence Day, UNC MPA | Categories: Uncategorized | No Comments
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