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End of Tuition Assistance Program will Affect Soldiers and Marines
Budget cuts and the sequester standoff have led to a halt in a tuition assistance program benefiting thousands of soldiers and marines.
The U.S. Army suspended its tuition assistance program for soldiers on Friday.
The army's announcement comes after the Marine Corps' decision to end the program after the current semester.
According to the "Military Times", the army spent $373 million for tuition assistance during the 2012 fiscal year.
Fort Sill officials say the end of the army-wide program will affect soldiers but it is just too early to tell how much.
However, Dr. Keith Lamb, Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Midwestern State University, says anytime funding is reduced for students, it has a residual effect on the university.
"These students depend on this tuition assistance program to help pay for tuition and fees," Dr. Lamb says.
In addition, Dr. Lamb says MSU has more active army students who receive tuition assistance than any other military branch.
He says eliminating tuition assistance will impact those students who depend on it.
"Our students who are enrolled in that program can expect some total of $50,000 a year less then their tuition assistance," Dr. Lamb says. "This is a benefit those students expect, it's a benefit that they rely on, it's a benefit they've earned and now they won't have access to it. I think it is not unreasonable to believe that some students may choose to not attend while they can't get the funding."
Dr. Lamb says MSU does offer need based tuition assistance programs but students must qualify.
He hopes the halt in the military program is only temporary.
Dr. Lamb says, "The branches that so far have discontinued funding have mentioned they will reevaluate the program and possibly reinstate it. There is hope for the future but we just have to get there first."
The Air Force will reportedly decide the status of its tuition program within the next two weeks.