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AGO 1950 No. 201 - January 23, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington


Junior Colleges in the state may receive tuition payments from Veterans' Administration at non-resident rate even though resident students are recipients of the schools' services.

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                                                                 January 23, 1950

Veterans' Administration
Regional Office
1506 Textile Tower
Seattle 1, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 201

Attention:  Mr. Lester E. Pope, Chief Attorney


            You have requested the opinion of this office as to whether junior colleges in the state may charge the Veterans' Administration for tuition furnished to resident veterans at the non-resident rate.  You have also requested information concerning the rate at which non-resident tuition fees is fixed by such junior colleges.

            Our conclusion is that junior colleges in the state may receive from the Veterans' Administration payment for a resident veteran's tuition at the uniform non-resident tuition rate fixed by the school directors.


            The regulations of the Veterans' Administration, promulgated under the G.I. Bill, permit schools, whose "customary cost of tuition" is insufficient to provide adequate training for veterans, to apply for an adjustment of such tuition charges.  If the administrator finds that the institution is unable to furnish adequate educational facilities due to the unusual increase in veteran enrollment, tuition fees for each veteran may be adjusted on the basis of that institution's non-resident fees.  The regulations further provide that such adjusted tuition may be paid by the Veterans' Administration only if they "* * * are not in conflict with existing laws or other legal requirements."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            We have been informed by the Department of Public Instruction that all junior colleges in the state now operate as extended high schools under chapter 115, Laws of 1945 [§ 4693-10 et seq. Rem. Supp. 1945]; and that no junior college now functions under the provisions of chapter 146, Laws of 1941 [§ 4623-1 et seq. Rem. Supp. 1941].  It further appears that a uniform fee for residents of the state has been adopted by these school districts, and another higher fee has been adopted for students who are not residents of the state.  The Veterans' Administration has allowed an adjustment of the tuition rates at some of the junior colleges in the state and payments have been made for the tuition of veterans who are residents of the state at the non-resident rate established by the school directors.  The Veterans' Administration now questions the authority of the schools to receive such payments.  Does the receipt by the junior colleges of these payments conflict with state law?

            Section 4, chapter 115, Laws of 1945 [§ 4693-13 Rem. Supp. 1945] provides that students not residing within the school district "shall be admitted upon the same conditions and subject to the same fees as are those residing within the district."  The purpose of this provision is to make all of the extended high schools available to all residents of the state on the same conditions -to prevent discrimination against students residing in the state, but outside the school district maintaining the junior college.  See the opinion of this office to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, dated April 2, 1948.  It was not intended to prevent such institutions from participating in a federal educational subsidy nor from receiving payments at a rate measured by the school's non-resident tuition.  No discrimination against the student is involved in the receipt of such payments, and the fact that the institution could not charge the student the same amount which the Veterans' Administration is willing to pay appears immaterial to the question of whether the school district may receive these payments from the federal government.  See the opinion of this office to the president of Western Washington College of Education, dated March 7, 1946.

            As to the rates at which such tuition fees may be fixed, section 8, chapter 142, Laws of 1899, as last amended by section 1, chapter 44, Laws of 1921 [Rem. Rev. Stat. 4780] permits school directors to make a reasonable tuition charge for adults attending schools under their jurisdiction.  This statute is controlling in the bulk of the cases since most student veterans are now adults.  In addition, section 7, Title III, chapter 4, Article II, chapter 97, Laws of 1909 [Rem. Rev. Stat. 4782] provides:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            "The board of directors of each school district * * * shall have power to transact all business necessary for maintaining school and protecting the rights of the district."

            We feel that this section permits a school board to fix the rate of non-resident tuition fees for a junior college.

            Accordingly, you are advised that the junior colleges in the State of Washington may receive from the Veterans' Administration payment for a resident veteran's tuition at the uniform non-resident tuition rate fixed by the local school directors.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General

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