Maryland to Transferees: A Tuition Break, on Me

The National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda will employ more civilians.
The National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda will employ more civilians. (By Robert A. Reeder -- The Washington Post)
By Stephen Barr
Monday, November 6, 2006

Civil service employees moving to Maryland because of military base closings and realignments will be treated as residents for purposes of college tuition, allowing them, their spouses and their children to qualify for lower in-state rates.

Uniformed members of the military receive in-state status for themselves and families when moving into Maryland, avoiding the usual 12-month residency requirement. The University System of Maryland Board of Regents recently extended a residency waiver to the civil service.

"We've put out the welcome sign," said Joseph F. Vivona , chief operating officer for the university system and vice chancellor for administration and finance. "These people are being unexpectedly moved in service of their country."

Providing such a perk to the civil service appears to be relatively unusual. Spokesmen for the Defense Department and the National Governors Association said they thought that most states do not provide in-state tuition for civil service families when jobs are moved.

Virginia, for example, does not waive the waiting period for in-state tuition benefits to civil service employees transferred because of base closings, a spokeswoman for the State Council of Higher Education said.

The Pentagon counts 46 states that provide in-state tuition to dependents of military personnel who cannot claim residency status when transferred. Thirty states permit students to continue at in-state rates if their military parents are reassigned out of state.

Companies usually decide case by case how much assistance to provide employees being transferred. The New York-based Conference Board, a business membership and research group, said most large companies provide educational assistance to families assigned overseas. At home, most corporate policies focus on helping employees with moving and relocation expenses, such as selling and buying homes, a board spokesman said.

Maryland officials estimate that as many as 60,000 jobs, directly and indirectly related to last year's decisions by a federal base-closing commission, could shift into the state over the next five years. Much of that growth will be concentrated around the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Fort Meade, Andrews Air Force Base and the National Naval Medical Center, state officials said.

Officials expect about 15,000 civilian employees of the armed forces to move into Maryland, Vivona said. Because military base realignments take several years, officials think that about 3,000 civil service employees, on average, will transfer to Maryland annually.

The number of employees, spouses and children likely to attend college in the state is probably "in the low hundreds," Vivona said, making it easier for the university system, which includes 11 colleges, to handle the transition.

Because it takes a year to establish residency in Maryland, the board's decision is "a way of making the transition year seamless," Vivona said. Nonresident tuition is about double the in-state rate, he said.

The Board of Regents said employees will be required to submit proof that their transfer was prompted by 2005 Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission decisions.

The Maryland board adopted a similar resolution in 1996, after base closings led to about 5,000 jobs being transferred to the Patuxent Naval Air Station. The board waived the 12-month residency requirement for civilian employees of the Navy whose jobs moved to Patuxent.

Vivona said the Board of Regents will review a study of whether residency waivers for tuition purposes also should be provided to contract workers for the armed forces whose jobs shift to Maryland bases. That issue could come before the board this month, he said.

Air Force Executive, Historian Retires

Richard P. Hallion , senior adviser for air and space issues at the Air Force's directorate for security, counterintelligence and special programs oversight, retired Nov. 3 after 32 years of federal service.

In the Pentagon position, he was responsible for analyzing the development and use of sensitive national technological programs. He also has held several chief-historian positions in the Air Force and was a curator at the National Air and Space Museum.

Hallion has written and edited books on aerospace technology and military operations, lectured at U.S. and foreign universities and appeared on History Channel and PBS television programs. He was awarded the Air Force Association Citation of Honor, the Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service Medal and the Army Commander's Award for Public Service.

Stephen Barr can be reached

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