Military tuition assistance cut due to sequestration

Some branches of the military are suspending tuition assistance programs for college students, citing budget issues related to sequestration.

The Army, Marines and Air Force already have announced plans to cut back on the program, while others are still weighing what to do.

“I wouldn’t be in school without it,” said Andrew Goodwin, a student at Penn State Harrisburg. He said the main reason he enlisted in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard was help paying for college.

“That’s one of the main draws of the National Guard. They actively recruit college-aged kids,” said Goodwin. “And, that’s one of the big things they use. They use the student loan repayment program and the Tuition Assistance.”

In a memo explaining the cut (which can be viewed here), the Army said in fiscal year 2012, about 201,000 soldiers used the Tuition Assistance program. It provides a benefit of up to $4,500 per student per year. It cost the Army $373 million over the course of the fiscal year.

“This suspension is necessary given the significant budget execution challenges caused by the combined effects of a possible year-long continuing resolution and sequestration. The Army understands the impacts of this action and will re-evaluate should the budgetary situation improve,” the memo reads.

Students expecting to receive the benefit for the current semester still will get it, the Army said. However, no new requests for money are being accepted, including for next semester.

A petition protesting the cut is on the White House website and has garnered more than 100,000 signatures.

“We recognize that the impacts of the sequester go beyond whether or not people are going to be able to have tours of the White House,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

A group of U.S. senators are trying to get an amendment passed to a budget bill that would restore the program.

“The motivation for many of them, probably most of them, some 200,000 in the Army is that they can work a little bit harder and be able to get a college degree,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) told Fox News.

Andrew Goodwin is scheduled to graduate in May with a degree in information sciences and technology. He says he worries about the thousands of other students like him who are just starting out and won’t have access to the program that helped him get through school.

He said, “They could make cuts across the board anywhere else but education. But, I feel like if we don’t have education, we don’t have anything.”

7 comments

  • Jeffrey Rosh

    I personally don't understand this. You ask our young men and women to get out of school and enlist into the Military, to protect each and everyone of us, even our government and then they have no future when they get out. They are force back into the work force that isn't even there anymore because of businesses laying people off or closing their doors. I believe if they fight for our country they should have a future when they come home….

  • Wanda Torres

    As a mother of a son in the United States Army I am upset that the military is doing this to them. My son enlisted not only to serve his country but to get help paying for his college tuition. With the hopes of starting next Spring after he came back from Afghanistan, where is he to go for help. Student loans? Really after all they are doing for this country the least the government can do is help pay for their college. There are people with regular jobs that get paid more than military personnel and there are many out there that came back from the war still trying to look for a job and make ends meet. Come on Congress you must do something to help! Don't fail them now!

  • Dana Jones

    What congress really needs to do is start it's cut at the TOP, meaning start with themselves. Why is it we the average american must be the ones to sacrafice so much? I'm a veteran, and I love this country, but I can't say the same about the government. Our soldiers deserve way better treatment from the government when the get home, and now you want to cut education. The men and women who serve this country put their lives on the line, and congress just slaps them in the face.

    • Karen

      AMEN!!!! Congress should not be allowed to have a paycheck period until they can develop a feasible plan to correct what THEY have messed up. Stop hurting the young men and women who defend all of our rights. And stop penalizing the general working men and women of this country. Do your jobs that you are getting OVERPAID to do!

  • Darly

    Wasn't it rumored that Mr. Obama instructed all government agencies to cut "until it hurt", because the sequester was allowed to happen? Who was the man who was flying all around the country "campaigning" instead of staying in DC to work with Congress and Senate to ensure that the sequester did not occur. Oh, that's right, it was Mr. Obama. Our government leads need to cut the "PORK", and not necessary programs, such as the tuition assistance programs for military veterans. The leadership of this country, Dems & GOP, are all about getting one up on the other party, not doing what is best for our country. It is time to IMPEACH all current leaders in DC. They are ALL ineffective. We have an ineffective White House, Congress and Senate. Time for some major changes. Start at the top and work down!!! AND, once the impeachment process is complete, start clean, impose term limits, and make lobbying illegal going forward. Our leaders need to pay attention to their constituents, not lobbyists and special interest groups.

  • shar

    So is Obama going to sign the bill to reinstate tuition assistance to the military or is he going to continue the sabotage on the military while he and Biden spend my $$$$$$$$$on their lavish hotels,meals,vacations,parties…..???? Try staying at Motel 6 and eatting at MacDonalds Boys!!!!

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