Budget Cuts for Tuition Assistance

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The Army's tuition assistance program was suspended on May 8, 2013 because of the budget deficit. 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. (Plumlee, 2013) Many thousands of soldiers currently enrolled in courses will be allowed to complete those courses. However, new requests for funding by soldiers won’t be accepted. The Tuition Assistance program is one of the Army's most popular in-service benefits, with some 201,000 Regular Army, National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers participating in traditional classroom and online courses at 3,100 colleges and universities nationwide. (Patton, 2013) The suspension came after the defense department comptroller told the service branches they should consider “significant reductions in funding new tuition assistance applicants, effective immediately,” Leslie HullRyde, a department spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. (Plumlee, 2013) The recommendation was the result of automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, that began March 1. “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,” said Barina, who added that as an 11-year Army veteran, it’s his junior troops he is concerned about. “There are so many things that cost a lot of money and don’t need to take place that are not getting the ax.” (Patton, 2013) Each service branch is responsible for funding and administering the tuition assistance program.Besides the Army, the Air Force and Marine Corps chose to suspended their programs. Now the program can only be used by active duty service members pursuing an educational goal. Members of...
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