Late Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed an amendment to the Senate Continuing Resolution (CR) cosponsored by U.S. Senator Jerry Moran— a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee — that reinstates the Tuition Assistance program for service members. The passage of this amendment will stop the suspension of Tuition Assistance benefits for members of the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force as a result of sequestration, and direct the Department of Defense to find savings elsewhere.
“Sacrifices in sequestration are to be expected, but we must be smarter with our spending decisions and make cuts in ways that do not intentionally and unnecessarily inflict hardship and aggravation upon our service men and women,” Sen. Moran said. “The passage of this amendment will reinstate the Tuition Assistance program, which gives our active-duty service members the quality education they deserve, and helps make certain our military has the best and brightest defending our freedom.”
In Fiscal Year 2012, approximately 300,000 service members participated in the Tuition Assistance program, which allows active military to attend school part time while serving their nation. During that time, active duty service members enrolled in the program took 870,000 courses and earned more than 50,000 degrees, diplomas or certificates.
The Administration’s decision to target the Tuition Assistance program exempted those who are already receiving aid, but prevented service members from submitting new requests for the assistance. The CR will now move to conference where the differences between the Senate and House versions will be reconciled. If included in the final CR, the Administration’s decision will be reversed, and the Tuition Assistance program will continue to be available to active duty service members.