Update: Military Tuition Assistance Programs have been restored by Congress. The dates will be released in the near future.
Update: The Marines have released the following information about resuming Tuition Assistance:
- JEC will start processing TA requests 11 April 2013
- Limits for TA remain the same at $250/Sem Hour $4500/FY
- TA will only be allocated quarterly so if it runs out then there is no more TA for the Qtr.
- TA requests will only be processed 2 weeks prior to start date of course (used to be 60 days.)
Defense officials are struggling with the budget cuts forced by the sequestration. While the budget cuts won’t affect military pay, many other areas will be cut, including DoD civilian hours, operations, training, and many popular support programs. One of the first areas to see the chopping block were non-mission essential programs such as the popular Tuition Assistance Program. USMC officials stated Tuition Assistance would be closed to new enrollments until the budget issues are resolved.
The sequestration came about after the Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed. This act created automatic spending cuts in virtually every government sector, including the military. As a result, many government programs are slashing spending and placing many employees on involuntary furloughs.
The US Marines need to trim $1.4 billion from their budget this year. This has led to many unfortunate cuts, including base support, morale, welfare and recreation activities, tuition assistance, and other morale related programs.
USMC Suspends Tuition Assistance Program
The USMC Tuition Assistance Program helps Marines pay for accredited training at to achieve vocational certifications, or work toward a degree at the associate, bachelors, masters, or doctoral level. Marines are eligible to receive up to $250 per credit hour toward their degree, up to $4,500 per year.
However, as of March 2, 2013, new enrollments in the Marine Corps Tuition Assistance Program have been temporarily suspended until further notice. Those who are currently enrolled in course will be able to complete their coursework without interruptions. USMC leadership will reevaluate the Tuition Assistance Program after the new budget has been finalized and the sequestration has been lifted.
Tips to pay for school: If you are currently attending courses and your tuition assistance has been cut, you still have options to stay on track and complete your degree. Some examples include using the GI Bill, either the Montgomery GI Bill, or the Post-9/11 GI Bill. If you do not wish to use the GI Bill, or you have already transferred your GI Bill benefits to a family member, then you may find other ways to pay for coursework. Some examples include private military scholarships, government grants, state benefits programs, or student loans. (In general, it is best to avoid student loans if possible).
Cuts are occurring military-wide. Please keep in mind these cuts are not limited to the Marines. The Air Force and Army have cut tuition assistance, and the Navy is likely to follow soon. Operations and support programs have also been cut across the other branches, as have DoD civilian hours and other programs. Let’s hope the government passes a balanced budget soon so we can get past these cuts.
Photo credit: Fort Meade