AUSTIN – On Jan. 9 the U.S. Supreme Court’s opted not to review a ruling that upholding Texas’ Hazlewood Act, a decision Attorney General Ken Paxton praised and called a victory for veterans and taxpayers.
“Texas will continue to exercise its sovereign right to encourage Texas students to finish high school, volunteer for military service, and bring their skills back to the state to pursue higher education,” Paxton said in a statement.
In June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld Texas’s Hazlewood Act, which waives public state university tuition for honorably discharged veterans who enlisted in Texas.
To qualify for the 150 hours of tuition-free credit, veterans must have entered military service at a location in Texas, been a resident of Texas while enlisting, or declared the state as their home of record on their military records.
The ruling stems from a challenge brought by Keith Harris, a current Texas resident and former Army veteran, honorably discharged, who enlisted in Georgia.
After being denied Hazlewood Act benefits, Harris sued seeking declaratory and injunctive relief requiring the University of Houston to grant him a tuition waiver for his remaining semesters, court records show.
A district court granted summary judgment in Harris’s favor, concluding that Texas lacked a rational basis for its fixed-point residency requirement.
The state of Texas appealed.