March 21, 2013
On Thursday, Congress spared the military's tuition assistance program from the budget knife. But the amendments to reverse military cuts, hasn't officially become law, leaving millions of active military members in limbo.
Last month, service members were notified they would not receive financial aid for higher education through the program because of military budget cuts due to the sequester. The program costs the military program nearly $375 million dollars a year, by paying for coursework for active duty service members taking college classes.
The cuts hit home at Piedmont Virginia Community College where twenty students serving in the National Guard or Army Reserve, depend on the tuition assistance program to pay for school.
"When they joined the military, that was a large part of the reason they did it," said Jackie Fisher, the military adviser at PVCC. "Of course they want to serve their country, but at the same time, they want the opportunity to continue their education and get a college education."
Fisher has met with several students members to discuss other options, like financial aid or scholarships. The deadline for registering for next semester is approaching, and several students worry they wont have a way to pay for their education without the tuition assistance program.
"PVCC understands these students are already in our programs and enrolled and we are going to talk with each one individually and work with them," Fisher said.
The bill to spare the tuition assistance program cleared the House Thursday. It also passed as an amendment in the Senate, but it still needs to be signed into law.