What is the Hazelwood Act?
The Hazelwood Act is a Texas state law that provides qualified Veterans—as well as their spouses and children–with various education benefits including, 150 hours of tuition and fee exemptions at state supported universities or colleges. The primary goal of the Texas Hazelwood Act is to offer an education benefit to honorably discharged Texas Veterans and to eligible dependent spouses and children of Texas veterans.
Who is Eligible to Receive the Benefits?
As of the fall semester in 2010, in order to be eligible for the Hazelwood Act Exemption, a Veteran must:
• Maintain Texas residence upon entry into the military; enter into active federal duty in Texas or declare Texas as his or her home state at the time of entry into the military. This information must be affirmed on the individual’s DD Form 214
• The individual must be discharged from the military in an honorable or general fashion; the individuals discharge must be initiated under honorable conditions
• The individual must not be in default regarding education loans made or guaranteed by the state of Texas. The individual must also be in good standing with any federal student loans
• And lastly, to be eligible for the Texas Hazelwood Act’s exemptions, the individual must have served at least 181 days of active duty service. Note: this does not include training or boot camp.
• Texas Veterans who are granted their first exemption under the Hazelwood Act must reside in Texas during the semester for which the exemption is claimed. This requirement does not apply to Texas Veterans who have received the exemption before the start of the 2011-2012 academic year.
Provisions of the Hazelwood Legacy Act:
The Hazelwood Act also extends to the spouses and dependent children of eligible Texas Veterans who suffered fatal wounds in the line of duty or as a result of illness directly related to their military service. Soldiers who are missing in action, or who became disabled as a result of their service will also qualify for the Hazelwood Legacy Act.
The benefits granted by the Hazelwood Legacy Act will also apply to the spouses and dependent children of members of the Texas National Guard and the Air National Guard units who died while on active duty. Note: The exemption is only available to veterans who have served in the United States Military—those soldiers who were in the Texas National Guard but did not get called to duty are not eligible for the exemption. All eligible spouses and children must provide official military documentation that definitively indicates that he or she meets the requirements of the Texas Hazelwood Legacy Act.
Eligible children who receive the exemption offered by the Texas Hazelwood Legacy Act must be 25 years of age or younger on the first day of the semester for which the exemption is claimed. Note, this provision will be superseded if the individual is granted an extension based on a debilitating condition or qualifying illness. This regulation is not instituted to children who have received the exemption before the start of the 2011-2012 academic year.
Where can I use my Hazelwood Act Exemption?
The awards granted under the Texas Hazelwood Act are only available for use at a public college or university in Texas. Independent schools in the state of Texas do not qualify for the exemption.
An eligible veteran may assign unused school hours of exemption to an eligible dependent child under specific conditions. To be eligible for transfer, the child must:
• Be a resident of the state of Texas
• Be the biological child, adopted child, step child or claimed as a dependent in the current or previous year
• Exhibit academic progress in a certificate or degree as determined by the underlying institution
• Be 25 years or younger on the first day of class for which the exemption is claimed
• A veteran’s spouse will not be deemed eligible to receive a transfer of unused hours according to the Texas Hazelwood Legacy Act
How do I claim my Exemption?
To activate the Hazelwood act and claim its exemption (or to transfer unused hours to your eligible child) you must complete the coordinating release form or application. A veteran who uses the exemption must file the HE-V application form. Eligible spouses and children who have not used the exemption must file both the HE-V form and the HE-D form.
A Texas veteran is required to provide proof from the United States Department of Defense (DD214) to definitively show their military service and the coordinating nature of their discharge. To obtain a copy of your DD214, contact the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. To obtain an immediate copy visit the Center’s website at www.vetrecs.archives.gov and file an online request. Furthermore, both the veteran and his/her dependents must also provide proof of eligibility for the exemption by requesting a letter for education benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (their office is located in Muskogee, Oklahoma and can be reached at (888)-442-4451 or at www.gibill.va.gov).
Additionally, both the Texas veteran and his/her dependents should contact their respect college financial aid office regarding their application, their status and any past student loans that were guaranteed by Texas. All applicants for the Hazelwood Act exemption must submit the appropriate forms listed above to their respective academic institution’s Veteran’s education office or financial aid office no later than one year after the claim or the first day of school.
Frequently Asked Questions Concerning the Hazelwood Act:
What Charges are satisfied under the Hazelwood Act’s Exemption Cover?
• The Texas Hazelwood Act exempts all qualified students who take classes at a public college or university in Texas from tuition and fee charges. The Hazelwood Act does not provide relief for property deposits or fees associated with student services. Books and living expenses are also not covered under the act. The qualified veteran under the Hazelwood Act will be eligible to receive a maximum of 150 semester credit hours.