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April 5, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

Feds restore military tuition assistance

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Slippery Rock University students serving in the National Guard are breathing easier now that their federal tuition assistance has been restored.

Students at SRU and across the nation were notified last month their funding would end as a result of the sequester.

The cut affected at least a half-dozen SRU students who were informed by email they could no longer apply for Tuition Assistance.

Lucien Chevallier, a marketing major from Evans City, a student worker in the SRU Public Relations Office and a soldier in the Army National Guard, was among those affected by the cut. He is pleased the funding program has been restored.

"I am really glad they restored the funding. It enforces a positive view of society and the effects of public pressure through the media. The change showed me that the public can change the direction of a political issue," he said.

"The funding restoration is a double positive for me. I won't have to work as much this summer to cover the cost of classes in the fall; and I will be able to take more classes this summer because the funding has been restored."

Soldiers' utilizing their GI Bill benefits, the Montgomery GI Bill or the Post 9/11 GI Bill, or other funding sources, such as grants and scholarships were not affected.

When students were initially told of the cuts, they were also informed the funding could be restored if the budgetary situation improved. By special vote, Congress approved the funding.

George Little, the Pentagon's chief spokesman, said the Department of Defense intends to implement the programs in the way they were before the suspension of new enrollments was ordered earlier this month.

An amendment attached to the continuing resolution passed by Congress last week and signed by President Obama, specifically directed the DOD to restore the tuition programs and "We will comply with the law," Little said.

The Army currently has 201,000 personnel receiving tuition assistance at an annual cost of $373 million and the Marines have 29,000 enrolled at an annual cost of $47 million.

The legislation restoring the cuts was sponsored by Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)/

The current programs provide about $250 per credit hour with a ceiling of $4,500 annually.

The sequester is designed to initiate across-the-board cuts, without discretion as to outcomes. The cuts are intended to hit all federal programs equally, with cuts ranging from 7.6 percent to 9.6 percent. Medicare providers are to be cut 2 percent.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.