EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSMILITARY TUITION CUTS
from Eyewitness News Online
Sequester Leads To Tuition Aid Cuts For Military
Reported by: Katy Brown
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Reported: Mar. 17, 2013 8:14 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 17, 2013 11:49 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The United States Military is taking a hit because of recent budget cuts caused by the sequester, and education for many servicemen and women is on the line.
Some college students around the state are double-timing it as members of the military and tuition assistance has always been a benefit to them. But now, that aid is the target of budget cuts.
“Why would you stay committed to an organization like the military, who's not going to keep its commitments to you?" Major General James A. Hoyer of the West Virginia Army National Guard asked.
That's the question many servicemen and women are now asking themselves.
As a result of the budget cuts caused by the sequester, The Air Force, Army, Coast Guard and Marines have all suspended their tuition assistance programs.
“We send them into harm’s way. They don't question where they're going, what they're doing or what the action is,” Hoyer said. “We've made a commitment to them, and we're going to provide certain benefits that they can use to improve their lives and their family's lives."
Last year, more than 200,000 Army soldiers used the tuition assistance program, totaling $370 million used for associate’s, bachelor’s and graduate degrees, Hoyer said.
Hoyer said he believes education is essential to the military, and said the cuts are taking away a benefit that has always been a key recruitment tool.
“We're in a position now, with the threats we face as a nation, that we have to have the most,” he said. “Not only the most cutting-edge equipment, but we have to have the most cutting-edge service members, and the way you do that is education."
Some lawmakers are pushing to have the program reinstated.
"When we've gotten to this point, it's time for us all to really express our opinions and make sure people in D.C. know that it's time to resolve this budget stalemate,” Hoyer said. “They need to get us back on the right track."
The tuition money is being cut at a federal level and any state assistance will remain. Service members who are currently enrolled in programs are not affected, but cannot reapply in the future. The cuts do not impact the G.I Bill.
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