Military tuition assistance program reinstated after House passes bill

EL PASO, Texas - Members of the military who are taking college courses will be allowed to continue getting help from a tuition assistance program that was cut in early March.

Funding for the program was part of the $43 billion in forced spending cuts that went into effect March 1.

On Thursday the House passed a bill to reinstate the program that helps thousands of soldiers pay for a higher education.

Fort Bliss Major Joseph Buccino said as soon as the program was slashed, soldiers felt the impact.

"We saw a lot of people that were affected. Soldiers that were signed up for classes had to drop them because they weren't able to get tuition assistance. Now they're able to," said Maj. Buccino.

He said 40% of soldiers take advantage of the tuition assistance program.

On Wednesday, Congressman Beto O'Rourke joined two other congressmen in support of the bill.

"I represent Fort Bliss and the 36,000 Service Members who currently serve there. As they make their return from Iraq and Afghanistan, these men and women rely on tuition assistance programs to begin the transition back into civilian life, earn an education and find good paying-jobs when they leave the Armed Services. We cannot pull the rug out from under them now," said O'Rourke in a statement.

While funding will now be reinstated for the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force, not every branch of the military will be spared.

The Coast Guard will not get the program back because it is funded by the Department of Homeland Security.

The Navy has not announced if it will continue funding soldiers in college.

Senators who backed the bill to reinstate the program say more than 50-thousand degrees, diplomas and certificates were completed last year.





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