Due To Budget Cuts Army Suspends Tuition Assistance Program For Troops

March 8, 2013 11:36 pmViews: 2747

Army tuition assistance program suspended

President Obama gets to fly Air Force One where ever he wants at a cost of $184,000 an hour. Republicans can dine with Obama at a fancy Washington DC area hotel and order the most expensive things on the menu. President Obama and his family take expensive vacation after vacation. Congress gets their perks. Top military brass gets their perks. However, when it comes to the supposed disaster of the sequestration budget cuts, the little guy in the military gets the shaft.

While no one in government leadership seems to take the brunt of budget cuts or even makes an attempt to give people the appearance of saving taxpayer money, the Army, following a recent announcement by the Marine Corps is now suspending tuition assistance programs for our troops. This is especially disheartening to many who joined the Army based on the incentive of going to school while serving their country. All troops currently enrolled in the tuition program are still eligible for their benefits, but any new soldiers or those serving who are not already going to classes but wanting to go will not be eligible for tuition reimbursement until more budgeting can be found.

One unhappy soldier has said, "Every commercial, every brochure, has money for college written all over it … recruiting us into the Army and then taking away one of the main reasons we joined is a bit hypocritical.”

This makes an absolute mockery of what our men and women in uniform do for us when they don't get the benefits they have been promised for joining the armed services. It is wrong and unconscionable to take away the very incentive some of our troops were told they would have if they did their part. It also sets a very dangerous precedent from the Obama administration for not finding a way to keep this benefit for our soldiers. When other young men and women consider joining an all volunteer service, they will look back on the timing of this and the cutting of promised benefits and may seriously consider even enlisting. If the Army cannot keep an incentive used to draw people into the military, it damages the very fabric of troop morale and makes the armed services less attractive to potential recruits.

Read more on this story below from Stars and Stripes:

The Army announced Friday it is suspending its tuition assistance program for soldiers newly enrolling in classes due to sequestration and other budgetary pressures.

“This suspension is necessary given the significant budget execution challenges caused by the combined effects of a possible year-long continuing resolution and sequestration,” Paul Prince, an army personnel spokesman at the Pentagon, wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes. “The Army understands the impacts of this action and will re-evaluate should the budgetary situation improve.”

The Army’s announcement follows a similar move by the Marine Corps.

The Army’s tuition assistance program was available for troops to complete a high school diploma, certificate program or college or master’s degree. Under the program, the Army paid 100 percent of the tuition and authorized fees charged by a school up to established limits of $250 per semester hour or credit hour or up to $4,500 per fiscal year.

“The Secretary of the Army has approved the suspension of Tuition Assistance effective 5 p.m. (Eastern Time) on March 8, 2013. Soldiers will no longer be permitted to submit new requests for Tuition Assistance,” read a statement posted Friday on the GoArmyEd.com website. “However, Soldiers currently enrolled in courses approved for Tuition Assistance are not affected, and will be allowed to complete current course enrollment(s).

“This change in the Army Tuition Assistance program applies to all Soldiers, including the Army National Guard and Army Reserves,” the statement read.

Student Veterans of America on Friday blasted the decision, saying the move could hurt troops’ post military careers and leave them in debt.

"It is utterly unacceptable that the first casualties of Congress' inability to act are education benefits for servicemembers,” Michael Dakduk, executive director of SVA, said in a statement. “The decisions of the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army set a dangerous precedent that educating our nation's servicemembers and veterans is an expendable option.”

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