Military Tuition Program Cut

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MEDFORD, Ore. — A federal tuition program that helps military members is now being cut because of federal budget problems and that could make it difficult for current soldiers pursuing higher education.

The tuition assistance program helps current members of the Armed Forces pay for college.The Department of Defense suspended the program because of the federal sequestration. Military members already enrolled in the program are covered, but no new applications are being accepted.

One National Guard member who takes classes here at RCC says it covers $4,500 per year, but she can’t take advantage of it for the coming terms. 15-year National Guard member Melissa Candy says she was planning to finish classes at RCC and transfer to Southern Oregon University in the fall to study pre-med. She now says she will not be able to receive the tuition assistance and it makes it a little harder to afford her education.

“Tuition costs will be twice as high as they are right now, so without that extra 4,500, I’m not really sure how I’m going to pay for it,” said Candy.

The Defense Department estimates that more than 200,000 soldiers and 100,000 airmen used the tuition assistance in 2012. All told between soldiers and airmen, the program paid out more than $500 million in tuition help last year.