Another impact of the sequestration hits our country right in the heart of higher education for our service members. The Army announced they are joining the Marines in suspending their tuition assistance program for those attempting to get a degree or certification. Those already enrolled will be allowed to complete their current courses, but unless the budget gets sorted out, new enrollees can kiss their benefit goodbye.
GI benefits won’t seem to be affected by this change, however, many are rightly enraged by this decision, citing that the education benefits are a main draw for enlisting in service. There are areas of spending which need to be cut. Education, health, supporting our military, aren’t those areas. With approximately 1.6 million people currently serving in the U.S. Military, this suspension could create long lasting and disastrous results on their future. Student loan debt is rising fast, and the amount of loans in delinquency is more than half.
Tuition assistance programs are the only way some can afford to receive education, and many agree to do so by putting themselves at risk, serving in our armed forces. Education is an investment in our future. Every time cuts prevent individuals from education it is our society and our future who will suffer. Many might say the only way to keep America running is to make these tough-decision cuts. When you’re cutting what makes America grow, what allows individuals to better themselves, then you’re destroying exactly what these cuts are claiming to save. There are cuts to be made. True, but this should never have been one of them.
Written By Courtney Kidd, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer