The UNC system’s residency and tuition policies for student veterans are receiving heightened scrutiny after one veteran has attracted more than 144,000 supporters in her battle for in-state tuition.
Hayleigh Bruch-Perez, an Iraq war veteran, was originally admitted to UNC-Pembroke in November 2011 but was denied in-state tuition. Perez was also admitted to Fayetteville State University, where she was granted in-state tuition.
Perez, who has owned a home in the state since 2008, moved to Texas in 2009 due to her husband’s military orders. She maintains she was incorrectly classified as out-of-state by UNC-P, and she enlisted the help of the Student Veterans Advocacy Group to appeal the decision — which was denied.
In light of that decision, Perez enrolled at private Methodist University. But she remains an advocate for veterans who want to use G.I. Bill benefits, which cover only in-state tuition at public universities.
On Oct. 11, Perez launched an online petition through change.org. The petition had more than 144,000 signatures as of Wednesday.