CMU to offer grant to offset money lost from suspension of military tuition assistance program
As many as 4,000 Central Michigan University students will be affected as the military suspends its Tuition Assistance Program.
Tuition Assistance is a benefit paid to eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. Each service had the ability to pay up to 100 percent of tuition expenses for eligible members. The decision to cut the program, announced March 8, was made due to the sequester budget cuts.
CMU said Tuesday it will offer a grant to current military students to offset the suspension. The grant will be available to military students with the rank of E7 or below with one semester remaining to graduate with their undergraduate or graduate degree.
“CMU wants to ensure that these military men and women who have worked so hard over the past years during deployments, transfers and other life changes can remain on track to complete their academic goals,” Merodie Hancock, vice president of CMU’s Global Campus, said in a Tuesday afternoon news release.
The grant can only be used for courses during the Summer I and Summer II 2013 terms and is valued at $125 per credit hour. Students must be admitted to CMU’s Global Campus and have used military TA within the past year.
According to an article published on armytimes.com, soldiers currently enrolled in courses with the benefit of tuition assistance will be allowed to complete those courses, but soldiers were not allowed to enroll in TA-funded courses after the deadline of March 8.
“The army understands the effects of this action and will re-evaluate should the budget situation improve,” Lt. Col. Tom Alexander, spokesman for the Army’s personnel chief, said in the article. “This suspension is necessary, given the significant budget execution challenges caused by the combined effects of a possible year-long continuing resolution and sequestration.”
Currently at CMU, military tuition discounted rates are $263 per credit hour for covered undergraduate degree programs and $288 per credit hour for covered graduate degree programs. This compares to the base undergraduate rate of $362 per credit hour and the base graduate rate of $477 per credit hour.
Manager for U.S. Military Programs at CMU Mike Nunnally manages 20 CMU campuses at 20 military bases spanning from New York to Hawaii. He said the tuition cut will impact many people.
“It is unfortunate,” he said. “The people who will be impacted by this are the ones who need it the most. It’s not the lieutenants and colonels; it’s the sergeants and captains–it’s the younger generation. They’re going to be the ones impacted the most.”
Military members will be able to continue to access their GI Bill benefits if applicable to them.
Nunnally said the suspension of tuition assistance will not affect veterans. It will only affect active duty, reserve and National Guard members.
There is no official word as to when tuition assistance will be reinstated.
Livonia sophomore Joel Busuito, who is enrolled in the ROTC program at CMU, said the suspension could impact military members looking for a way to adjust to civilian life.
“Most people are looking for a way to get started and pay for their education, and if tuition assistance gets cancelled, it really hinders people’s opportunities to go to school and jump back into civilian life,” he said.
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