We learned a week ago that sequestration cuts, in addition to all their other damage, were undercutting the Army’s Tuition Assistance program. As of March 8, veterans already enrolled and receiving student aid would continue to receive support, but new requests would be turned down due to the spending cuts.
Lt. Col. Tom Alexander, spokesman for the Army’s personnel chief said at the time, “The Army understands the impacts of this action and will re-evaluate should the budgetary situation improve.”
Today, the budgetary situation improved – sort of.
Congress voted to protect the military’s popular Tuition Assistance program on Thursday, directing the Defense Department to find money to fund it.
After sequestration’s steep budget cuts hit the federal government, the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps all announced that they would be suspending TA, which provides up to $4,500 per year for service members to continue their education.
The move sparked an uproar from members of the military, veterans and lawmakers.
Part of the problem with the sequester is that it’s an arbitrary meat axe – budgets end up getting cut without regard for merit, and officials within the various departments and agencies have no meaningful discretion to ease the blow. In this case, Congress didn’t restore the funding so Tuition Assistance could continue, but instead, gave the Pentagon the authority to find cuts elsewhere in the Defense budget.
The end result for veterans, however, remains the same – the Tuition Assistance program will be back on its feet, as it should be.