Posted: Mar 8, 2013 12:21 PM by JD Downing
Updated: Mar 8, 2013 8:55 PM
According to the Military Times, the U.S. Army's popular Tuition Assistance program is being suspended.
Sequestration and a budget squeeze are to blame; although the many thousands of soldiers currently enrolled in courses will be allowed to complete those courses.
The Army's announcement follows a similar move by the Marine Corps. The shutdown will begin at 3 p.m. Mountain Standard Time today, affecting about 200,000.
Soldiers will not be allowed to enroll in TA-funded courses after that deadline, according to Lt. Col. Tom Alexander, spokesman for the Army's personnel chief. "Soldiers who are in courses now can complete those courses, but they will not be allowed to enroll in new courses," Alexander said, adding, "the Army understands the effects of this action and will re-evaluate should the budget situation improve."
The Tuition Assistance program is one of the Army's most popular in-service benefits, with some 201,000 Regular Army, National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers participating in traditional classroom and online courses at 3,100 colleges and universities nationwide. Under the TA payment formula, payments are capped at $250 per semester hour of instruction, for up to an annual total of $4,500.
While the TA program is suspended, soldiers can pursue education goals using their VA benefits, if eligible, that include the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty, Montgomery Bill-Selected Reserve, Reserve Assistance Program and the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
Other education funding sources also may be appropriate, such as grants, scholarships and the state tuition assistance programs available to some National Guard soldiers.
Pentagon officials strongly urge soldiers affected by the TA shutdown to contact their local Army education center to assess their options.