Gov. Bill Ritter's signing of House Bill 1039 last week will level the playing field for Colorado colleges and universities who are trying to attract veterans, said retired Col. Greg Akers, director of the Office of Veterans' Affairs at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The new law grants in-state tuition to all military veterans who have been honorably discharged when they become Colorado residents.

According to Akers, 16 out-of-state military veterans were accepted for admission to CU-Boulder during the 2008-09 school year, but only one attended CU.  While Akers doesn't know for sure why the veterans didn't attend CU, he said it is safe to say that some of them may have declined due to the tuition cost.

"The new GI Bill that will pay the in-state tuition cost in full for veterans, taken with this change, will make it much more affordable for out-of-state veterans to attend school here," Akers said. "This is great news for us, because we want veterans to consider the CU when they are choosing their schools."

CU-Boulder has approximately 400 undergraduate and graduate students who are military veterans, according to Akers.

Before taking the job to create the Office of Veterans' Affairs in fall 2007, Akers directed the Marine Corps ROTC program at CU-Boulder for four years. He retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2007 after 28 years of service that included posts with numerous combat units and at the Pentagon and in Africa.