Sequestered: Military Pulls Funding For Tuition Stipends

A reader sends along the email below which was sent out to Air Force members earlier today. As you can see, it cancels tuition assistance.

It was clear that the Obama administration was going to work to make the sequester as painful as possible, and this is another example.

Meanwhile, the federal government has advertised to fill 2,600 job openings since the sequester kicked in. The federal government has spent $1.5 million to study why lesbians are fat, and $227,000 to study magazine photographs.

But tuition assistance that is, quite frankly, part of the compensation package for our troops? That has to go.

From: CMSAF [mailto:CMSAF@us.af.mil]
Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 7:04 AM
Subject: Military Tuition Assistance — View in HTML

Fellow Airmen,

As you know, our Nation and our Air Force are working through some significant fiscal challenges. The combined effects of continuing resolution and sequestration are forcing some very tough decisions. Unfortunately we’ll likely be forced to furlough nearly 180,000 civilian Airmen for 16 hours per pay period for the remainder of the fiscal year starting in April. This is one of many impacts on your units and our Airmen and Families. Given this environment we’ve had to make the decision to suspend military Tuition Assistance (TA) for the remainder of this fiscal year.

Effective 1700 EST, 11 March, Active Duty Airmen will no longer be able to submit requests for Tuition Assistance.

Believe me, this was a tough decision because our Air Force truly values education. This is evidenced by our requirement for a Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) degree for senior rater endorsement (SRE) eligibility. SRE means a great deal in the promotion of Master Sergeant to Senior Master Sergeant, and this will not change. We understand suspension of TA benefits makes things tougher, but there are other ways for Airmen to complete CCAF degrees. CLEP exams, the G.I. Bill, scholarships, and federal grants are some options.

We remain as committed as ever to ensuring Airmen have the opportunity and means to pursue educational goals. We’re still looking at the impacts for FY14 and will do our best to have TA reinstated, although we’ll likely need to review the eligibility requirements to ensure sustainability. We owe you more information on this and will provide details as soon as we can.

Thank you for your service to our Nation.

v/r

jac

JAMES A. CODY
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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