Updated: May 16, 2021
Rhodes Island, The Ocean State, offers benefits to over 65,000 veterans.
Veteran Education Benefits
Veterans may qualify for in-state tuition rates at Community Colleges of Rhode Island, the University of Rhode Island, or Rhode Island College. In-state tuition applies to both undergraduate and graduate studies.
To be eligible, the applicant must:
● Be Rhode Island residents with a physical mailing address by January 1st of the year before enrollment.
● Present a GI Bill Certificate of Eligibility
● Be a U.S. citizen or have permanent residency identification
● Meet the academic and eligibility requirements for the schools
● Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before March 1st for the year of admission
● Served 24 months on active duty OR
● Released before completing 24 months of service because of injury due to military service
Spouse and dependents may also qualify if the veteran meets the following criteria:
● Ten years of active duty
● Rhode Island resident when transferring the benefit
Tuition Waivers for Disabled Veterans
Veterans with disabilities may receive free tuition at Rhode Island public universities and colleges. Applicants must be rated at least 10% disabled due to military service and permanent Rhode Island residents. They must also apply for and use all other financial aid first.
State Tuition Assistance Program for the Rhode Island National Guard(STAP)
National Guard members may be able to get free tuition for Rhodes Island State colleges and universities. Tuition waivers cover up to five classes per semester and may be used together with the GI Bill. The benefit does not cover books or other fees.
Applicants must meet the following criteria:
● Rhodes Island Air or Army National Guard enlisted service members or officer
o Agree to one year of commitment for every 12 credits
o ETS must be after the class end date
● Be accepted to an Associate, Bachelor, or Master’s program
● Be in good standing with the Guard and the school
Veteran Employment Benefits
Veterans Hiring Preference
Veterans may be eligible for employment preference when they apply for state jobs. To be eligible, veteran applicants must meet the following criteria:
● Any discharge other than dishonorable
● 30 days of active duty service, not including training
● Discharged due to a disability caused by military service
● National Guard or Reserve retiree must 20 or more years of service
Veterans may also receive five extra points on civil service entrance exams. Points are applied only if the applicant passes the exam.
Disabled veterans may receive ten extra points on civil service entrance exams. The applicant must pass the exam before the points are added. To be eligible for preference, disabled veteran applicants must meet the following criteria:
● War veteran
o Campaign ribbon or expeditionary medal
● Honorable or General discharge
● VA rated physical disability due to military service
Veteran Housing Benefits
Veterans Assisted Care Homes and Nursing Homes
Rhode Island has one nursing home at Mount Hope Bay in Bristol, Rhodes Island. War veterans may apply for admission. The cost of the home adjusts to 80% of the resident’s net income. The 208-bed facility on 110 acres offers a range of services, including:
● Secure memory care
● Palliative care
● Assisted living
● Nursing care
● Health services
o Physical and Occupational therapy
o Psychiatric services
● Transportation for appointments at the Veteran’s Administration Center in Portland, Rhode Island
To be eligible for admission to the home, veterans must meet the following criteria:
● Honorable discharge
● 90 or more days active wartime service
● Joined the service while living in Rhode Island OR
● A resident of Rhode Island for two consecutive years before the application
Veterans may be denied admission if they have been diagnosed with any of the following:
● Active psychosis
● Substance addiction
● Infectious or Contagious disease
Veterans may receive preferential placement in public housing designated for the elderly.
To be eligible for preference, applicants must have a disability due to wartime military service and must have been discharged under any but dishonorable conditions. Each housing project has additional criteria an applicant must meet to be allowed admission.
Veteran Financial Benefits
Property Tax Exemption for Totally Disabled Veterans
Some veterans, surviving spouses, and Gold Star parents are eligible for property tax exemptions. The Rhode Island Department of Revenue maintains a list of eligible properties, and exemptions vary by the local jurisdiction.
Eligibility requirements include:
● Any but dishonorable discharge
● Military service during WWII, Korea, Vietnam OR
● Service in any recognized post-Vietnam conflict
Additional Veteran Benefits
Driver License, Identification Cards, and License Plates For Veterans
Veterans may be eligible for a Veteran designation on their driver's licenses and IDs. This benefit is available to all honorably-discharged veterans free of charge.
Veteran License Plates
Veterans may be eligible for service designated license plates. Plates are free of charge when initially issued, but remade plates cost $31.50.
Special designations include the following:
● Disabled Veteran
● Prisoner of War
● Purple Heart Recipient
● Veteran Gold Star
Disabled veterans may be eligible to receive reduced-price bus passes through the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. To qualify, applicants must have a VA disability rating of at least 70%.
Bus Pass ID cards are valid for five years at the cost of $25. Applicants can qualify for either No Fare or Reduced Fare.
To qualify for a No Fare Bus Pass ID card, veterans must meet specified income guidelines.
The Reduced Fare ID cards allow holders to pay half fare during non-peak hours on fixed service routes. Cardholders must pay full fare during peak hours. Applicants do not need to meet income guidelines.
Bus pass holders who require a personal care assistant for traveling, the assistant rides for free.
Legal Benefits for Veterans
Veterans Treatment Court
Veterans who have been diagnosed with trauma-related disorders may get treatment through the Kent County District Veterans Treatment Court. The goal of Treatment Court is to rehabilitate and reintegrate Veterans who find themselves in the judicial system. ASTRA or Alternatives to Sentencing and Trauma Recovery Program gives veterans a priority. Treatment options may include:
● Reduction of charges
● Alternative sentencing
● Jail diversion
● Court-supervised compliance of ordered treatment recommendations
● Referral to TAMAR ,the Trauma, Addiction, Mental Health, and Recovery Program
● Veterans Mentor Program peer support
● Other services through the VA loan service and supporting organizations
Applicants must have been diagnosed with a trauma-related disorder caused by military service. An applicant’s criminal history and charges may affect eligibility.
Burial Benefits for Veterans
Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Exeter, Rhodes Island
The 280-acres cemetery features well-maintained landscapes and markers and 31 monuments dedicated to veterans.
The cemetery burial options include in-ground casket or cremation and columbarium cremation. Burials for veterans are provided at no cost, but some fees are not covered for spouses or dependents. All services include military honors.
To be eligible for the benefit, veterans must have had honorable service and must meet one of the following criteria:
● Joined the service while living in Rhode Island OR
● A resident of Rhode Island two consecutive years before death
● Recipient of a campaign or expeditionary medal OR
● Two consecutive years of active duty in peacetime OR
● 20 years of National Guard or Reserve service