Tri-States soldiers, reservists impacted by tuition assistance c - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Tri-States soldiers, reservists impacted by tuition assistance cuts


(WGEM) - Many young people with dreams of going to college decide to enlist in the military as a way to make those goals a reality, but now because of Sequestration cuts many soldiers could be left footing the bill for their education.

The United States Air Force, U.S. Army and U.S. Marines have all announced a temporarily suspension of their tuition assistance programs for active duty personnel and reservists as a result of federal budget cuts.

At John Wood Community College, there are three military students that have relied on this tuition assistance to get through school. Lisa Snodgrass, JWCC Records and Registration Coordinator, says because of the cuts to military tuition, she thinks enrollment in the armed forces may go down.

"Even though we don't have a lot of active military students here, those colleges that are near bases and things. Their enrollment is going to go down without that tuition assistance not paid."

Andrew Cox is a member of the Illinois Army National Guard and is attending John Wood Community College with dreams of becoming a state trooper when he graduates.

But, because of the Sequestration cuts in Washington, tuition assistance for solders currently stand to be eliminated for future semesters, unless lawmakers act. Cox says losing the tuition assistance would make his dreams a little harder to achieve.

"They're not going to pay for tuition so we have to find other ways to pay for tuition either scholarships, or working extra hours," Cox said.

Cox said he first heard about the cuts on Facebook and then heard his colleagues talking about it at drill.

"There was a lot of words said and people were upset about it," Cox said.

Cox says the promise of education assistance is a big incentive for many to enlist in the military, and these cuts are a setback to those soldiers.

"Money for college is one of the big, top roles in it, because it gives people more chances than they would have without the military so just cutting that and taking the extra opportunities away from people that serve their country everyday. It doesn't seem fair," Cox said.

The Air Force is also limiting professional education at the non-commissioned officer academy and at squadron office school. Airmen pursuing degrees were given $250 per credit hour and as much as $4,500 per year.

It's expected that budget cuts won't affect the GI Bill. Airmen will have the option to use alternate funding such as grants and scholarships to pay for their education. 

Financial aid advisors urge military students to come see them, because there could be other grants they can apply for.

(Editor's Note: Information from NBC News contributed to this story.)

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