War orphans will not have to pay tuition this fall

Initially enacted after World War II, the waiver will be offered again this fall.

Jamie VanGeest

If a University student has lost a parent in a war, they won’t have to pay tuition starting this fall.

All children of veterans who die as a result of active duty in the armed services will not have to pay tuition when they come to the University, said Daniel Wolter, vice president of University Relations.

The tuition waiver doesn’t include stipends for living expenses or student fees, he said.

War orphan education recipients started receiving the waiver during World War II, he said.

The University never dissolved offering the tuition waiver, but there is confusion over why the University didn’t offer it from World War II through now.

“I would characterize it as a fluke,” Wolter said.

The program has been offered through the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs for many years, and the department doesn’t have the authority to make universities enact the program, said Michael Pugilese, the deputy commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.

The University hadn’t noticed the oversight until the issue was raised in the Legislature, Wolter said.

Assistant Vice Provost Linda Ellinger said the University has to enact the tuition waiver so it is in compliance with state law.

Pugilese said, “No one really knows why the (the University) stopped offering it.”

Wolter said the waiver might have been lost in the shuffle when the University was transferring their documents from hard copy to digital.

“Nobody had asked for (the tuition waiver) or was using it,” Wolter said. “If you have people enrolled in a waiver program you’re not going to drop it.”

Another possibility is that by the 1970s none of the World War II war orphans were using the waiver anymore, he said.

Wolter said the University projects fewer than 10 students will use the waiver in the fall.

Pugilese said the waiver enables students who couldn’t otherwise afford college to attend the University.

The Board of Regents reviewed the waiver at its May meeting and Wolter predicts it will pass it in its June meeting.