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Army Cancels Tuition Assistance

The Department of Defense announced Friday that the Army and the Marine Corps are both suspending their federal tuition assistance program effective immediately. “Soldiers will not be permitted to submit new requests for tuition assistance. Soldiers currently enrolled in courses approved for tuition assistance are not affected, and will be allowed to complete those courses,” said a spokesman for the Army, Lt. Col. Tom Alexander. Thousands of service members who use the tuition assistance program to pay for college courses will be affected according to the release. Some active soldiers studying at the University of Missouri, said the news came as a slap on the face. “Initially when I first heard this, I was bitter,” said Cpl. Clay Beyersdorfer with the Missouri Army National Guard, but he said he is still proud to be serving his country, to be a part of something bigger than himself. “It’s been a blessing, it’s been something I don’t regret a day in my life.” The young soldier, 21, who enlisted after graduating high school, has benefited in using the tuition assistance program. He said he would not have been able to attend the University of Missouri if it wasn’t for the help he received. Beyersdorfer, who is now a junior trying to complete his bachelor’s degree in communications, has been in combat overseas. He learned recently that he will be deployed again in June, and he worries when he returns, his current tuition assistance might run out. According to a news release by the DOD, the Army is taking this step because of budget problems, namely the $85 billion sequestration cuts a week before this decision was announced, and a possible year-long continuing resolution. The Army says they understand the impacts of this action and will re-evaluate should the budgetary situation improves. Navy and Air Force officials said they are looking into whether they will make similar cuts as well in the following week.

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