Legislation saves military tuition assistance from suspension - Tucson News Now

Legislation saves military tuition assistance from suspension

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

President Obama signed a Continuing Resolution today for government funding for the remaining 2013 fiscal year.

That legislation prevents the Department of Defense from eliminating the tuition assistance program, although it will be subject to the 7 percent cuts mandated by the sequester.

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber said he is pleased about the legislation that he pushed for in a letter he sent to the Pentagon last week. The letter was signed by 46 of his colleagues, including 42 democrats and four republicans from 23 states.

"Tuition for educational expenses is a promise that we made to the men and women who stepped forward to serve our nation," Barber said. "I understand the need for the Department of Defense to make cuts because of sequestration, but this is an area where cuts are unacceptable."

Around 81 educational institutions and their multiple campuses participate in the military tuition assistance programs in Arizona.

More than 200 Air Force students are taking classes and receiving tuition assistance at Pima Community College, and the University of Arizona has nearly 40 Army and Air Force students using the program.

The military tuition assistance programs pay up to $250 per semester hour for active duty personnel, or as much as $4,500 per year. Until the legislation was signed today, the sequester forced cuts which suspended these programs in the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Marines and the U.S. Coast Guard. The U.S. Navy had not suspended its program.

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