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Tuition assistance suspended for service members

By Ellen Bacca
Published On: Mar 14 2013 06:40:38 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 14 2013 08:12:54 PM CDT

A total of 300,000 military men and women were able to go back to school last year, thanks to a tuition assistance program. On Monday, a decision from U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel came down to cut this funding. The cuts have been made in light of sequestration, in an effort to save money.

Tuition assistance is available only for active duty members. Veterans typically go back to school using the Montgomery GI Bill benefits. Although the tuition assistance has been cut, active members can still use their GI Bill to go back to school.

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D)-NC says she is opposed to the cuts. She believes this is the wrong way to find savings.

“Many of the individuals in active duty are going to be transitioning out of military duty and into civilian life," said Hagan.  "We know that our veterans have a higher unemployment now than our civilians do.  If they have this educational component, they will have a better chance at the jobs that are available and that's why this is so important."

Sen. Hagan has joined Senator Jim Inhofe (R)-OK to oppose the cuts.

Currently only Marine, Air Force, and Army active duty members will experience cuts. The Navy is not yet included.

Regardless of the final outcome, Hagan says the effects will likely resound in North Carolina. North Carolina has the third largest "military footprint" in the nation.