The Hazelwood Exemption

Under Texas Education Code 54.341, Texas veterans attending public colleges in the state of Texas may be eligible for an exemption of most tuition and fees under the Hazelwood Act. The exemption covers all tuition, dues, fees, and other required charges for up to 150 semester credit hours, including fees for correspondence courses. It does not cover deposit fees, student service fees, VCT reservation fees, or any charges for books, school supplies, tool kits, student housing, meal tickets, or clothing.

To be eligible for the Hazelwood Exemption, the veteran must have a Texas address listed as their “Home of Record” or “Place of Entry into Service” on their DD-214, must have served an aggregate 180 days or more of non-training active duty time, must have an honorable or “general under honorable conditions” discharge, and must currently reside in the state of Texas. For cases where a spouse or child wishes to receive Hazelwood based on the veteran’s service, the veteran in question must still meet the requirements listed above, and the recipient must live in Texas during the semester in which they use the exemption. In all cases, the Hazelwood recipient (whether veteran, child, or spouse) must not be in default on a student loan guaranteed by the state of Texas in order to be eligible.

There are three categories of students who can apply for the Hazelwood exemption: Texas veterans, children of Texas veterans receiving transferred hours through the “Legacy” Hazelwood program, and spouses or children eligible for their own 150 Hazelwood hours due to a Texas veteran’s service-related death or 100% disability.

For more information and a fairly comprehensive FAQ, please visit the Texas Veterans Commission’s Hazelwood web site.

 

Hazelwood for Veterans

Veterans wishing to apply for the Hazelwood exemption must submit a complete Hazelwood application along with all required documents to the Texarkana College Veterans Services Office. Do not mail the application to the Texas Veterans Commission. Please allow at least 2 weeks for processing.

Download the Texas Hazelwood Exemption application (version for student-veterans)

Also, please note that Texas state law (SB 1210, passed in 2014) requires veterans receiving the Hazelwood exemption to maintain a certain standard of academic progress to remain eligible for the exemption.  These standards are outlined under the Texarkana College Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy for financial aid. Beginning in Fall 2014, a Hazelwood recipient who merits suspension under this policy cannot receive the Hazelwood exemption again until they are granted probation through improved grades or a successful appeal.

 

Hazelwood Legacy Program (Transfer of Hours to a Child)

Veterans who are eligible for the Hazelwood Exemption may transfer their unused hours in bulk to a child through the Hazelwood “Legacy” Program. Be advised that this is an “all or nothing” transfer – the veteran is not allowed to use Hazelwood while their child is using it, and only one child at a time may use the transferred hours. The veteran has the authority to take back the unused hours back from the child for his/her own use or to transfer them to another child; however, this transfer/recall must occur in between semesters.

Children’s eligibility for the Hazelwood exemption expires after their 26th birthday, with no exceptions. If their birthday falls in the middle of a semester, their eligibility for Hazelwood will expire at the end of that semester. Please note that grandchildren are not eligible for the Hazelwood exemption unless they have been legally adopted by the grandparent/veteran and court documents can be produced in evidence of this. Spouses or parents of veterans are not eligible for the Legacy program.

Finally, please note that the state of Texas requires colleges to uphold a standard of academic progress for children of veterans using the Hazelwood “Legacy” program. These standards are outlined under the Texarkana College Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy for financial aid. A “Legacy hours” recipient under financial aid suspension cannot receive the Hazelwood exemption until they are granted probation through improved grades or a successful appeal.

For children to apply for a transfer of Hazelwood hours under the “Legacy” provision, they and their veteran-parent must complete the Hazelwood application and submit all supplemental documents listed on the cover-page checklist. When all required documents have been gathered, please submit both applications and all required documents to the Texarkana College Veterans Services Office. Please allow at least 2 weeks for processing.

Download the Texas Hazelwood Exemption application (version for children of veterans receiving transferred hours)

 

Hazelwood for Eligible Children and Spouses

If a Texas veteran his been killed in action or has received a 100% service-related disability rating through the Department of Veterans Affairs, the veteran’s spouse and children may each be eligible for their own Hazelwood Exemption benefit of up to 150 credit hours. Because each person has their own Hazelwood hours and nothing is being “transferred” in this case, multiple family members may use the exemption during the same semester. The child’s or spouse’s Hazelwood has no negative bearing on the veteran’s eligibility for his/her own 150 hours, so veterans do not have the right to recall or revoke these benefits once granted.

As with the “Legacy” program, children of 100% disabled or combat-deceased veterans lose eligibility for the Hazelwood exemption after their 26th birthday. If their birthday falls in the middle of a semester, their eligibility for Hazelwood will expire at the end of that semester. Please note that grandchildren are not eligible unless they have been legally adopted by the grandparent/veteran and court documents can be produced in evidence of this.

To apply for their own Hazelwood exemption hours, eligible spouses and/or children must complete the Hazelwood application and submit all supplemental documents listed on the cover-page checklist. If the veteran is still living, he or she should co-sign it; if deceased, documentation of death must be supplied. When all required documents have been gathered, please submit both applications and all required documents to the Texarkana College Veterans Services Office. Please allow at least 2 weeks for processing.

Download the Texas Hazelwood Exemption application (version for eligible children and spouses, as defined above)

 

Hazelwood Database

Regardless of whether the recipient is a veteran or their child, spouse, or tax dependent, all recipients must sign up

Compatability with other VA Educational Benefits and Financial Aid

The Hazelwood Exemption may be used in conjunction with “Title IV” financial aid like the Pell grant.

It may not be used in conjunction with VA Vocational Rehabilitation (Chapter 31) or the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) at the 100% rate.

Students may currently use Hazelwood in conjunction with other VA educational benefits (Chapters 30, 32, 35, 1606, and 1607), but be advised that this may eventually be subject to change.

 

College-Specific Hazelwood FAQ

Certain aspects of the Hazelwood Act are left up to individual colleges to implement according to their own internal policies. Below, please note Texarkana College’s policies on the following items.

Q: How often do I need to renew the Hazelwood application?

A: Students must have at least one Hazelwood application on file for each school year. Those who have previously received the Hazelwood Exemption at Texarkana College and still have an active Hazelwood file in the Veterans Services Office may omit the supporting materials (DD-214, ineligibility letter from the VA, residency documentation etc.) and just complete a new application. As a reminder, all veterans should complete the HE-V form, and all spouses or children should complete both the HE-V and the HE-D forms.

Q: What do I do to activate it each semester?

A: Students who wish to use Hazelwood must contact the Veterans Services Coordinator in the Financial Aid Office each semester to notify him of their enrollment and request that the exemption be applied. The Hazelwood exemption is not applied automatically. All students must be registered with the Hazelwood Database and provide the Veterans Services Coordinator with a printout from that web site showing how many exemption hours they have used so far. Hazelwood recipients must also provide a renewal application for the current school year if they have not already submitted one (see above).

Q: How far back may I be reimbursed for tuition payments through the Hazelwood Exemption? When is it “too late” to submit it?

A: Students must submit the Hazelwood application by the end of the semester for which they wish to be reimbursed.

Q: Schools have the option to allow or not allow Hazelwood to be “stacked” with the Montgomery GI Bill or VRAP. What is Texarkana College’s position on this subject?

A: We allow veteran-students to use both, and we plan to continue this practice unless new regulations prohibit it. As stated earlier, students may use Hazelwood in conjunction with all other VA aid except for Veterans’ Vocational Rehabilitation (Chapter 31) and the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) if received at the 100% rate.

Q: Will the Hazelwood Exemption cover dual credit courses?

A: Yes. Hazelwood-eligible veterans wishing to use the exemption to cover their child’s high school dual credit tuition may do so. Complete the applications and necessary documentation for either the Legacy transfer or the child’s own hours due to the veteran’s service-related death or disability (as appropriate), and submit this to the Texarkana College Veterans Services Office. Please allow at least 2 weeks for processing.

Q: Will the Hazelwood Exemption cover continuing education classes?

A: Sometimes. Hazelwood can only apply to continuing education courses if the state of Texas provides formula funding to pay for the particular course desired. Hazelwood-eligible veterans wishing to use the exemption for a continuing education class must inquire at least 4 weeks before the starting date of the course, with the inquiry limited to a particular course, to give the Veterans Services Office time to research whether the exemption may apply. There are absolutely no exceptions to this time-limit requirement, and requests submitted less than 4 weeks ahead of time will be denied outright.

Q: What routine semester expenses at Texarkana College would Hazelwood NOT cover?

A: Hazelwood will not cover the student service fee ($5 per credit hour each semester), books and supplies, parking permit, on-campus housing charges, or the reservation fee for courses taken through the Virtual College of Texas (VCT). As stated above, it will not usually cover non-credit continuing education classes.