Two branches of the military, the Marine Corps and the Army, have announced suspension of tuition assistance benefits due to sequestration. Army folks have until 1700 EST today, 8 March 2014, to submit new requests for tuition assistance via the GoArmyEd portal. I expect that the other services will soon be announcing similar messages, so get moving NOW to enroll in any classes you are considering taking.
In an ALNAV message released 2 March 2013, it was announced that the Department of the Navy would immediately “CEASE NEW USMC ENROLLMENTS IN VOLUNTARY EDUCATION TUITION ASSISTANCE.” This is one of numerous drastic measures being taken by the Navy,including shutting down a carrier air wing and cancelling numerous deployments .
The notice released by the Army yesterday gives soldiers a little bit of time to organize last minute educational plans. New tuition assistance requests will be suspended at 1700 EST today, 8 March 2013.
The Army currently has more than 201,000 active duty, Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers receiving tuition assistance. The annual cost for this benefit is about $353 million.
Air Force, Navy
There is little doubt that the Air Force and Navy will be announcing tuition assistance cuts soon. Members in these two services would be wise to speed up their educational plans in order to maximize their benefits while they are still available.
I have long said that tuition assistance would be cut as the services struggle with shrinking budgets. Their value as a recruiting and retention tool is diminished as the military decreases its force size.
Servicemembers seeking to continue their education should look for other sources of funding, such as private and public scholarship programs and the Post 9/11 GI Bill. GI Bill benefits, as a Department of Veterans Affairs program, are specifically exempt from sequestration cuts. Other ways to help complete education include using College Level Examination Program (CLEP) examinations and taking advantage of the tax benefits available for educational expenses.
Army, Navy, and Air Force folks – get moving now!