Mark Patton, Stars and Stripes, March 8, 2013
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.