Military Tuition Assistance Cuts Looming

Earlier this year I wrote that there were some rumblings about the DoD budget cuts possible affect on military tuition assistance. At that time it appeared that the service branches may be preparing to restrict access or reduce the $4,500 annual tuition assistance cap.

At the time I reported that the Chief of Continuing Education Programs, Carolyn Baker, had told the attendees at the Council of College and Military Educators annual conference that the DoD spent $542 million on tuition assistance in 2010 – $24 million more than 2009.  Baker pointed out that increased demand and the growing cost of college tuition are putting a financial strain on the DoD budget. “The current program growth is unsustainable,” said Baker.

It appears Congress has taken this into their own hands by adding an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (HR 1540) that would direct the DoD to report on the effects of reducing the current 100% tuition and fees rate by 25%.

Currently servicemembers can get up to 100% of the tuition and fees covered as long as the per semester credit limit of $250 is not exceeded. Anything tuition costs which exceed the per credit hour cap must be paid through secondary sources like their GI Bill benefit, scholarships, grants or out-of-pocket.

If passed by Congress all servicemembers, no matter which branch, may soon have to rely on secondary funding sources to help cover their tuition and fees.

The language of the amendment, offered by Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), does not direct DoD to immediately cut the rates, however, it does call for the Defense Secretary to examine the possible effects of a cut. In addition, the amendment directs DoD to look for inefficiencies and duplications of benefits – i.e. servicemember’s ability to use the GI Bill while on active duty.

Let Congress know how you feel about this issue.

About the Author

Terry Howell
Before becoming the Managing Editor for, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.

105 Comments on "Military Tuition Assistance Cuts Looming"

  1. Why do we fight we are the ones who get the shaft

  2. Did you join just for the benfits. How are you going to control all this spending if we dont cut these programs too. If everyone says cut everyone else program but not mine then nothing will get done. We cant just keep spending and spending. Any one that puts an earmark on a bill should be voted out of office

  3. Why not cut the multi million (probably billion) dollar "black door" DOD projects that have the slimmest chance of leading to new usable technologies anyway. All of the rampant senseless spending that goes on in the military, and its the soldiers who have to incur the budget cuts?

  4. Charles Spiegelman | June 7, 2011 at 9:38 am |

    In good times and bad the GI joe is expendable all he is is cannon fodder for the Politicans and people who know the GI can’t march for there rights, or become political. Hang on to your hands guys eventually merks will be the military we pay for there loyatity marked by paid not duty, honor, country, then we releady will be a third world country if we want this then say tuned. If not what about an American spring lets take back our country and rid ourself of lobbiest, lawyers and politicans and get on with making this country great again. Don’t Tred on me.

  5. The military almost requires members to go to college or risk not getting promoted. If they back-off on the money, they should back-off on the requirement.

  6. It really appears that someone of there is working very actively to get the draft reinstated. All of the proposed cut are not valid recruitment tools. But what do I know. Be patriotic is a good thing but those being served needs to recognize the sacrifice made by the men and women of the armed forces. Then they should be taken care of. God First, Country second, and then the troops. What would the Armed forces be without troops?

  7. I waited four years for what the recruiter promised me and this what I get in return.
    This is some BS!!!!

  8. The tuition assistance program is one of the successful programs that has enhanced troops being able to obtain additional education opportunities. This additional education provides better Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, and Airmen for our country. It is a program that needs to be sustained.

  9. armychick | June 9, 2011 at 9:33 am |

    I like how when military members complain its always some brainwashed fool that said "you just joined for the benefits" Well DUH thats why they use these as tools to recruit people in the first place. You say that people that do not join are not patriotic. It takes more that that to want to do this everyday. Lets get real. IF they didn't want to pay for our college than they should have lured us in with the ideal in the first place. It is not wronf to expect what we were promised. IF your commanding officer told you to do something you best believe that they expect you to deliver as promised. The Armerican GI is always giving giving giving and is supposed to do it all for free. WHat about our kids, families and troops. Wondering why so few want to join, so many want to get out, so many have mental illness and so many have committed suicide. We do what only 1% of the population wants to do and America can pay Millions to contractors but can cut our promised incentives. Give me a break. We suppose to love this country but they are making it easier and easier for us to do it as a civilian.

  10. I didn't use my TA to the extend that some of my buddies did while on active duty, but I did make the best of it while I used it. Now that I am out of the service I wished I would have picked a different school instead of Embry-Riddle (I am so sick of aircraft the only thing I want to do with one is climb on board to take a trip someplace). Also for those that are planning on getting out and using your MGIB, weigh your options very closely in the choice for the regular MGIB (Chapter 30) and the post 9-11 MGIB (Chapter 33). They made some heavy chages to the post 9-11, like the amount of time you are going to school is going to be a percentage of the BAH stipend you get. For example if you go 6 semester hours, you get 50% of what your BAH will be for a given area, 8 semester hours will be 0.666 percent or 66.6 percent that gets rounded up to then next whole 10%, or 70%. 100% is 12 hours a semester, so make sure if you are going to live in an area that has a very high BAH in the first place, make sure you are going full time. I screwed myself by opting for the post 9-11 without doing the research on the BAH for this area i live now, to the tune of about 400 less dollars a month. In most circumstances the orginial MGIB (Chapter 30) is the better deal.

  11. Well i extended my service in arng mainly for tuition assistance so if they cut does this mean i can get out of my contract. There are lots of areas to cut but when people enlist for benefits they need to stay. Now if u say cut benefits on any new contracts that would be fare as people would have choice to sign up or not

  12. American citizen | June 9, 2011 at 9:26 pm |

    How is it that Congress can give its own raises and make it unnecessary for their children to pay back school loans? And, lets not forget the tax payers money spent on the United States Military Academy and Carlisle Army War College to give another Officer another free degree. Why is it that the Enlisted Soldiers (who make the least) are being denied the same benifits? Shame on you Congress!!!

  13. Why not stop the colleges from pushing books out every semester which is the same criteria as before? But I agree. Nothing is sustainable any longer. If this drought continues the amount of grain might not be sustainable. I appreciate all the people who want to do something in America after they get a degree- but the truth is there aren't enough jobs and your unsustainable. We can hire people over in India much cheaper- doesn't mean they can do the same job but whatever. it's unsustainable. Everything is unsustainable unless your making a bonus of 2mill plus a year. That's not unsustainable. Everyone else is unsustainable. It says so in the projections of the same people who told you the real estate market was a good investment, and that going to war was a good way to fight terrorism. your totally right! your all unsustainable. Funds for education- unsustainable. Funds for new business- unsustainable. Food for the once large middle class unsustainable. Tent's in the woods… sustainable. beans in the can… sustainable. Slavery ships… sustainable.

  14. Cheryl Hubbs | June 9, 2011 at 9:27 pm |

    Why don't we take that 26.2 million we just pledged to Libya and keep the tuition WE PROMISED to our Veterans. Our Military is why we are safe at home, in the USA!

  15. Mary Davila | June 9, 2011 at 9:40 pm |

    So all those men and women who served in this current war, who lost their limbs, their sight, their hearing and other things are SOL??? This is unacceptable. Those people who want these cuts need to be voted out of office as soon as possible. SMH That's a slap in the face to those who have served and for those who didn't make it home. I think paying tuition for these men and women is the least we can do for them risking their lives for America. SMH.

  16. Stop screwing the military.

  17. ADESINA TAYO | June 9, 2011 at 9:59 pm |

    this is nothing new under sun , they shafted my great uncle, and my uncle , and a whole lot of my brothers of arms. Who serve this great country of ours and they wonder why so many of us dislike most of them who sit on there lazy ass in DC doing nothing !

  18. Ito Biete | June 9, 2011 at 10:13 pm |

    shame on you US politicians who are bunch of @#%$&; you are like third world countries politicians making cuts on what is important for us in the military! there's no substitute for education and the budget for TA and GI Bill must be incresed, not cuts or decreased or downsize or whatever deductive terms you might call it!

  19. I can’t believe they would even consider reducing TA when Congress gives Billions of dollars of Foreign Aid to nations like Pakistan and Afghanistan. BTW, Congress spends $1 billions a week to run Iraq. How about we quit Iraq and use that money to reduce expenses and keep TA? Or is taking care of the Iraqi people more important to Congress than taking the US Citizens and soldiers that they represented and got voted in by? Mmmm… Who voted for Obama again?

  20. E-3 Flyboy | June 9, 2011 at 10:20 pm |

    so much for being able to afford college now and go from enlisted to officer

  21. look at the voting history of the senator's & congressors, you will find it's the repuglicans that will cut anything except their own paychecks & still want to give tax breaks for the rich! Look at the offical records, you will see the evidence. last year pres obama sent all disabled vets 250.00 extra dollars to cover the gap in the cost of our meds. bush didn't do s*** except start a false war with the wrong perps! it took obama to catch bin laden in 2.5 years. don't people know bush was good friends with the bin laden's? they even had a pet name for him, the extended family member. look up the documentation, it is there.

  22. 75% tuition assistance was the norm several years ago and there was no mass exodus. If you joined the military for a free education, you got it…look at the value of your intial training, technical school, and the multiple leadership school opportunities. TA is an added benefit not an entitlement. Don't take benefits for granted and don't complain when a choice has to be made by leaders to meet the needs of the nation.

  23. One of Us | June 9, 2011 at 10:41 pm |

    Instead of complaining, be appreciative of what you receive…medical benefits for you and your dependents (no charge), military housing (or BAH payments monthly), BAS (monthly), annual clothing allowance, GI Bill benefits (enough to pay for a bachelor's degree plus housing allowance and books), discounts, tuition assistance, etc. Tuition Assistance (and all the others) is a benefit, NOT a right; be appreciative that you get any sort of educational assistance at all! Many people in the U.S. work long and hard hours to provide these benefits to you and all you can do is complain!!! I would be saying thank you to my employers if they even offered 25% tuition assistance and would be jumping for joy to receive a portion of any of the other benefits provided to me (or my family).

  24. The Marine | June 9, 2011 at 10:59 pm |

    Screw u David. Thats bull! People like you are the crap "YES MEN" of the military. Time to open your eyes and take the big green weenie out of your mouth. Uncle Sam has become nothing more than a pedafile in a van offering free candy and puppies to anyone who will climb on board. Then once your inside, he slaps the chloroform soaked rag over your mouth and rails u from behind. Get a grip people!!!! If its a war they want they're about to have one in the back yard!

  25. Opsecalpha | June 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm |

    The taxes that GE and GM owe would cover TA for years. It seems that the military are the only ones making sacrifices for the budget. I agree, we should cut all spending by 10% except for military benefits.

  26. How is it that Obama will increase Pell Grants to those who do nothing but exist but he will cut our grants to college and we serve in the most horredous parts of the world. I got a good idea. Since the Navy and Air Force do not really fight this war, why don't we just cut theirs and keep the Army and Marines? There, problem solved.

  27. SSG Moriset | June 9, 2011 at 11:16 pm |

    We need to stand up and be heard. I am someone that this will affect. Please don’t cut this.

  28. I don’t know about the other branches but I do know the air force looks for college credits and degrees when it comes to EPRs and promotions. If they are going to lower TA they need to lower the standards. My husband is working 6 days a week and about 12 hour days, he takes college classes just so he have a degree before he goes up for senior in a few years. Making him pay out of pocket in order to promote is an outrageous request for someone who doesn’t get paid overtime for all the work he does and scarifies he makes. If our nation needs money, please take it out of our taxes not our medical and education benefits.

  29. How about cutting the salay of civilian contractors downrange. I am fricken sick and tired of these civilians downrange getting paid 4 times more then a soldier and everything they make up to $120,000 is tax free. Well since they are already getting over 6 figures you should tax them to cover our budget. Why do we hire civilian contractors to go downrange with us to do our job and get paid 4 times more? We have cooks in the military but civilians are cooking for us! We have engineers in the military but civilians are doing the work, we have MPs downrange but civilians are working the gates all for 6 figures tax free. This is all Bull$#!^…..

  30. People have every right to be upset about this, it boils down to the Government breaking it's contract with service members. When we all joined, we may have done it for different reasons but we all knew what we had coming and we all made plans based on what we were assured we would get. Not to mention the fact that Education benefits should always be the last thing cut, but unfortunately the people in charge just don't think we need to be learning. It's no wonder the US is so far behind in when it comes to our education system, it's sad and pathetic. Not everyone joins the service to do 20 years and retire, some have plans for when they get out and the TA is a huge part of those plans for most. They're screwing with people futures here, and it's not right.

  31. I agree that this is wrong, but we're not powerless here. Write your congressmen! Don't let them forget that we "little people" vote them in or out….it's great to voice opinions on boards like these, but make sure you let the congressmen know your thoughts too! They don't want to lose their nice pay and jobs….so let them know we are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the polls!

  32. Yet another slap in the face! Thanks

  33. "OUTRAGEOUS". "I'm from the Viet-Nam era": "and I'm willing to roll-over what's due too me, to let (the young men and women under me have my share), for them too compete for technical jobs being sent to China and India". "Me being in my earlie sixties, my days are shrinking in numbers"; "but I'm in good health". "My passion in school for higher education have always been extreamly high"-"and now retired, but very active in nature". "Those young men, and women who enlisted are looking for those education funds too have or get that American dream that gave them that extra encouragement from our government, and them being deployed into combat and come back HOME barely"; "and now the wants to take that away".

    Is this, the same America/United States they gave or enlisted there young lives for? NO. And what happened? AMERICA! AMERICA!

  34. When I enlisted Tuition assistance was 75% but it was raised to 100% a while back. To me, it's not a big deal, it's just going back to the previous level. Some states used to have a program where they'd contribute the additional 25% which wasn't covered by TA. Look into this if TA is lowered, there will still be ways to get the 100% covered.

  35. I dont mind serving. i enjoy the people i work with. i wish civilian jobs had a structure where people understood rank and knew their jobs, but i find myself frustrated with the military pretty often. what percentage of the population is actually in the military? its pretty small, and of that extremely small percentage how many are actually taking college courses? so take half of 1% of our population fighting for our freedoms, we cant let them go to school for free and use their training to better serve this country? we have the resources and the ability to provide our men and women education. Id also like to see the CCAF offer a Bachelors or possibly Masters degrees.

  36. 4EverDeployed | June 10, 2011 at 4:47 am |

    Im currently in the military and i agree. I didn't come in just for college but the Army does make that one of the biggest reason why you should join. Don't think so? Just tell your recruiter that you plan on going to college instead of the Armed Forces and see how quick the conversation turns to how the military can pay 100% of your college. I came in pre 9-11 when TA use to be 75% and the main reason why it was bumped up to 100% is because most the 25% was a lot depending on what you were taking. Now after 9-11 DOD has gotten our new breed of military used to 100% and now they are going to cut it back to 75% and expect Soldiers to still go to school at the same level. Its not going to happen. I do agree with the idea of if your going to cut school funding then don't raise the education requirements to get promoted or to attend special programs. I do believe its a benefit and not a right. So with that thought process if its such a benefit then don't hold that benefit against a Soldier when it comes time to promote that Soldier.

  37. Basically, Gates is a bootlicker along with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They got is made, why not screw the little guy!

  38. AOC (IYAOYAS) | June 10, 2011 at 7:55 am |

    A 100%, wow, it was 50% 10 years ago and service members still were able to get their degrees. And for those of you that want to holler back with tuition is more expensive now than then, I have one very solid comeback. I did when your monthly pay was nearly 2/3rds of what it is now and raised a family of four. You have to make choices in life that are easy, and the one you made that put you military was admirable. You have the capability of overcoming obstacles because of your training, and that is al this would be, another obstacle. If you want it bad enough, you can achieve it…

  39. Hay everyone needs to feel the pain if we are to ever get any better. I am a vet of 14 years and currenlty have 2 sons serving in the war – and they're both also trying to finish college. The fact that they're serving does't mean they're beyond taking any cuts – no one group should be exempt. And, It's not like the educational benefits are being stripping away. Even with this cut, military educational benefits are great.

  40. Mr. GI Bill | June 10, 2011 at 8:01 am |

    First of all, TA does not cover 100% of tuition at most schools. Maybe, it will cover 100% of the tuition at a community college, but not a 4 yr state school or a private school. Example: My tuition at my private school is 800 dollars a credit, and FTA will only cover 250 per credit 750 per class and a max of 4500 per year. So, for most of the men and women serving in the military, they are already paying part of the total cost of tuition “out of pocket”.

    Next, what about the part-timers (reservists and guard). They sign a contract, willing to go to war, receive little pay due to the nature of its structure, willing to respond on a moments notice, and your going to cut their benefits? Currently, they receive very few benefits so in doing this those service members will be hit the hardest.

    As for the people here claiming that the people who are complaining only joined for the benefits are either brainwashed, blind, or not interested in a college education. Whatever the case may be, I will say this, every recruiter (mine included) sells military service on the benefits of higher education, or a 20k-40k bonus (which is now gone). If patriotism is the only “right” reason to join, then every recruiter should either be retrained or fired because they always sell the benefits of military service to get citizens to join (steady job, medical, college, bonus)

    Finally, I will say this. Every day I hear about the unemployment rate for veterans, and the need for college to get promoted in the military. I ask, how will you (Department of Defense, and Department of Veteran Affairs) address the lack of promotions and the rising unemployment rate if these benefits are cut?

  41. I am an OIF vet. This is not a broken promise. Benefits are not promised in enlistment contracts for just that reason, they are benefits. Benefits change. TA used to be at 75%, and if the top-up program remains in place, you will still be able to use the FREE post 9-11 GI Bill (a new benefit) in combination with your 75% TA to complete a Bachelor's degree. Personally, I think they should cut all of TA and just have members on active duty use their GI Bill benefits if they want to go to college. I do not understand why anyone would complain when school will still be FREE! I would choose your battles because they are looking at cutting pay and medical benefits…what's more important to you, a duplicate education program or your free medical care?

  42. Smart Arse | June 10, 2011 at 8:59 am |

    I'm all for shared sacrifice, but it seems that the middle class and low-income folks are the only ones making it. Once again, Congress is trying to applying a band-aid when it should be focusing on the real cuts to reduce the debt. I realize this economic mess is a great deal more complicated than any of us could possible fathom and that no one has the solution, but if I were facing foreclosure next month turning off the cable would have very little effect. The education entitlement is such a minuscule part of the DOD budget. If Congress weren't so politically motivated, perhaps real issues that can make a real difference would be addressed.

  43. OK, if these congressmen and women want to mess with military retirement then theirs should not be left off the chopping block either. They get 100% in some cases for their retirement… and they want to attack what MIGHT equate to $2K a month for me when I retire after 20 years? Term limits, ditch ineffective politicians, and cut their retirement… yeah, I don’t think they’ll like that or that it will ever happen. TA was 75% when I came in and if people really want their degree they’ll pursue it at any cost; I believe we should retain 100% TA but at least TA isn’t going below what it was when I came in. I also agree with Ann. Stop giving money to people who do not deserve it either because of legality or merely refusing to work because the government will pick up the tab. Things have got to change, and they need to change more for those not serving America than for those who are!

  44. Angry As Hell | June 10, 2011 at 9:23 am |

    If you are upset by this, and I think all of us who aren’t blindly drinking the patriotic Kool-Aid are, you have to write your elected officials. It will have a much greater impact than ******** on I doubt that many of our politicians are reading these posts, especially since less than 5% of them have ever served in uniform. And has made it easy for you to let your voice be heard. All you have to do is click the link right above these posts to compose a message to be sent via e-mail. Last time I checked, the politicians were elected by us, and work for us. And if you follow what’s going on, you also know that DoD is also considering cutting pay and other benefits. When it comes to cutting the budget, “everything is on the table”…except getting out of endless wars and taking care of our own here at home. And don’t be too short-sighted. Retirees are getting hosed too. It has already started with approved increases to Tricare premiums. The conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya join to form an unbelievable budgetary black hole. And the last time I checked, President Obama inherited Iraq and Afghanistan. He hasn’t even been President for as long as we were already in those countries before he was elected. AND he got Bin Laden and multiple other high value terrorists. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid!

  45. Better get the most of it while it last…

  46. Sir George E. Granse | June 10, 2011 at 9:35 am |

    They made a commitment , they should keep the commitment. They required us to keep our commitment when we joined and we put ourselves at risk, NEED I SAY MORE MY DEAR FRIENDS. I was a Marine a Marine Embassy Guard in Tanzania, East Africa in 75-76,joined in 73. Yes it was a great ride and do miss it a whole lot. Embassy duty was the best. Sir George Enrico Granse

  47. Simple citizen | June 10, 2011 at 9:46 am |

    Unfortunately instead of going forward, we are going backwards. Its look like if education costs continue to increase nobody will be able to afford including our military and we will have a nation of uneducated people and ignorants and the rest of the world will be lauging at us. But there is good news for the richer because they will continue to get richer and afford education………wow …..God Bless America

  48. Glen Gassman | June 10, 2011 at 10:05 am |

    How pathetic is it that our government will take/reduce benefits that were hard-earned by our fighting men and women to fund entitlments for the people who are a) Here illegally, b) Too lazy to earn their keep or (my favorite) c) Too ignorant to earn their keep? While not all public aid recipients fall into these catagories, but in my line of social work I see more hand-outs than hand-ups. How long will it take for the American taxpayer (ie, middle-class, blue-clooar worker) to pay off the Simulus Bills? Which was basically, one huge welfare check!

  49. Getting Tired of the Game | June 10, 2011 at 10:06 am |

    The thing I find most interesting is they are talking about how much they spent in 2009 vs 2010. Well last I checked, there was still a cap for each year then, as there is now.

    What this means is people are actually using the benefits, probably because they keep getting cut, screwed over, and have to deal with complete bull flop. So people are using there benefits while they still can and walk away with something.

    In reality since the cap was still there both years, the situation has NOTHING to do with the actual cost of tuition, like they are claiming. Just tell it like it is and don’t try to pass the blame on others. It is just an excuse.

    If military members are required to have integrity then why don’t they have to? Integrity is not just a one way street.

    And as someone previously mentioned, we have held up our end of the deal, it is about darn time they start doing the same.

  50. Being an old soldier, I feel ripped off. I had to pay into my GI Bill, now it is handed to them. Then they can give their post 9/11 GI Bill to their spouse or kids. Then go to the VA and get disability rating and go to school on the peoples dime through Voc-Rehab. It is double dipping, I am just a Vet rep (DVOP) and see this everyday. I tell Vet everyday, the jury is still out on this practice. So don't be suprised when the right hand talks to the left and our fine elected officals figure it out. I am sure those that have been doing this will get a pass. A nother half baked idea comes in for people to take advantage of.

  51. Career Counselor | June 10, 2011 at 10:59 am |

    I have been in long enough to see tuition assistance go from 50% to 75% to 100%. If they cut it back to 75% it is not that bad and you can utilize your GI Bill. I understand that you feel entitled to it but it is not an entitilement. It is an earned benefit. Not everyone gets to use it. If you are flagged for any reason you are not authorized usage of tuition assistance. I think it should be reduced but I also think we should have larger pay raises every year until we reach a point where the pay equals the work and danger.

  52. We gave up our rights when we become a soldier. Therefore, I'm out.

  53. i am for cutting spending, with stipulations. i know that went straight from high school into basic. washed out week 2 of basic and gets the same bennies as me as a 22 yr vet, why should he get vocational rehab when he never had a vocation to start. he also quit a job paying 19.00 an hour, filed for state child care subsidies and works at the school va office making 7.00 an hour. thats where we need to cut spending is on these POS who dont deserve it.

  54. one eyed boy | June 10, 2011 at 11:10 am |


  55. I am a currently serving and using TA. I was waiting to speak with my VA Rep at the college when I overheard another student bragging about how much money he was going to MAKE this quarter in Financial Aid. This is what he said regarding his FAFSA money, “I'm 28 and I can get paid to lie around." He went on to say he lives at home and has no intention of looking for a job.
    Members of the military EARN every bit of their benefits. You want to cut some funding, why don’t we take it from the entitlement society that think they can lay around playing Call of Duty getting their FAFSA money instead of being productive members of society?

    I understand there is a need for FAFSA. I understand that there are people who put that money to good use to improve their situation. I am all for helping someone out when they are down, that is part of our duty as service men and women. Unfortunately I know far too many examples like the one portrayed above. So many in fact, that I believe they are the majority. It is a system based on integrity, and integrity seems to go out the window when money gets involved.
    Like any AAR I don’t like when people complain about a problem without offering a solution, so here is my fix.

    I propose our government begins keeping better track of where FAFSA money is going. Pay for a student’s college, but don’t give them extra cash that they spend on things unrelated to school. Drug tests to receive aid should be mandatory. If students still need more money, we can provide more work-study positions, and bring back the idea that you work to receive a benefit.
    Requiring mandatory drug tests, and FAFSA auditors will create jobs. We can pay for these jobs with all the savings from not handing out checks to people that don’t need it.

    This is my personal favorite idea. I think we should require a mandatory online finance class in order to receive aid. It would be free, and you can print your certificate upon completion. As a result people might start budgeting a little better and not need to rely on the government.

    Thank you for listening to my ideas. Thank you to all those who currently serve and those who have served in the past. Hopefully together we can come up with a solution to this problem.

  56. they're cutting tuition assistance here so they can continue funding education in pakistan. i don't get it. i listen to npr news every morning, pakistani student are not even appreciative of what this education aid that the U. S. is giving them. So ungrateful bunch of people. why should i support them with my tax money.

  57. There are many sides to this story. Yes, our government is broke and we need to find drastic ways to make cuts. However, there's not much that the Constitutuion allows for, but the number one thing is a strong military. Now, does that mean free college for all Soldiers? Not neccesarily, but education is good for America and if funds are going to be provided for any sector, it should be the military. The problem is that there are too many different costly programs that require too many costly salaries to maintain. There are a slew of different GI Bill programs, tuition assistance programs and other programs that like many government programs, are wasteful. Call me naive, but couldn't we eliminate all of this and allow Soldiers free public education with a military ID. I would bet this would save millions and enable all Soldiers an education. But it would eliminate to many government (welfare) jobs I guess.

  58. nate finch | June 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

    cut here cut there and give it all to the minorities! Boo Hoo!

  59. Just Saying | June 10, 2011 at 4:00 pm |

    The point is that the new generation who enlisted did so with the promise of 100% tutition being paid for school. That is one of the tools recruiters use to get some to sign on the dotted line. There are so many more programs being cut as well and perhaps having military active duty go back to putting money into the education fund like it was a long time ago may help. What has happened seems that a lot more active duty have decided to go to school then before..SO now it is costing more..If there is a bright side..At least they still will cover 75%…

  60. Retired Chief | June 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm |

    I think it's all a clear cut case of smoke and mirrors… Members of congress be they Demarcate or Republican or independent, doesn't matter which, all have their pet projects that they spend billions (yes I said billions) on for their states and none of these have ever been mentioned in any of the cuts conversations. These are what is costing us. These earmarks are attached to bills and are almost never mentioned in the bills name and are not argued about because the status quo is, "you vote for mine and I'll vote for yours!!" One congress member once stated that if we were to cut back earmarks, we could balance the budget, but this conversation was squashed very quickly and not mentioned in the media again as it's political suicide to talk about such things in public. Now if the American people were to stop following the idiot with the bell around their neck, blindly as sheeple, and started to ask the hard questions of their representatives, money would possibly go where it's supposed to and promises made to the military would be kept.

  61. So I did the math, and that (543 million) would equal out, if spread out to all service members, to about 290.00 per service member per year (total cost for the DOD). That costs the DOD about .79 cents per service member a day. Granted not every service member is using this benefit and if they were the number would be higher (I spread out the total cost to all servicemembers). It doesn't amaze me that Congress and the Obama administration would want to cut or reduce funding for the military. If there was to be an investment in this country, you would think the "heads" in Washington could figure out that investing in your military and veterans education is pretty important. I mean come on we are talking millions of dollars, that's like petty cash to Washington.

  62. Wow there is a lot of discussion about this! I am currently active duty and listening to these people on here talking about its not a right and so on so forth! You must be out of your mind! Everyone in the military deserves TA and all the added benefits that we get! Why you say? Well let me tell you why because each and everyday we fight for YOUR FREEDOM FOR YOU TO BE ABLE TO GO TO SLEEP AT NIGHT PEACEFULLY! You are not out there risking your life overseas defending your country are you no! I am apalled that anyone would say we aren't entitled to some college funding! Ha that is laughable!! We deserve what little we get plus much more! We don't make any money so any other benefit that we do get IE. TA is to make up for the lack of paycheck so that we can take care of our family! If we stop giving away money to other countries and paying these outrageous salaries to people who shouldn't make nearly half of what they make then and only then will .we be able to pay off our debt! Its not President Obama's fault were in this mess this mess was messed up wayyyyy before he ever came into office this has been going on for many years it has just progressively gotten worse!!

  63. Not surprized we should let the country go to the red chinese seems to be going that way anyway why wait would love to see the looks on the congress members then our government is just a bunch of Jack Butts.

  64. Does it really matter why a person joined? What I am sure of is that KIA isn't an attractor. I'm sure title of wounded warrior isn't one either. Most people just want to better themselves and this program was set up to help retain our workforce first and foremost. TA isn't exactly free either because you have to obligate more active duty time before you can get out. And, I'm sure the military gets direct benefit back by having a smarter workforce as well. Judging from some of the posts here, there are a lot of ignorant people when it comes to the value of educating your workforce. Do you think the military member bails out of the service because she received a free English class?

  65. This is ridiculous. Shame on you Congress for trying to reduce of the main reason why veterans joined to begin with, tuition assistance. That is the reason why I am joining myself and for these idiots to possibly cut 25% of TA is unacceptable. There is so many other programs that they can mess with but this is something that cannot be messed with. I will remember this during election year.

  66. Garret Goorhouse | June 11, 2011 at 3:03 am |

    No one should sacrifice anything else until CONGRESS starts to give up some of their pay. Congress needs to practice what they preach. No one else in the Country gives as much as the military members and their families.
    It makes me sick how congress can vote themselves raises and change laws to suit themselves. Hell they don't even abide by the same laws they try to impose on the rest of us. CONGRESS YUO NEDD TO SACRIFICE AND CHANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  67. Tim O'Connor | June 11, 2011 at 4:14 am |

    As a Viet Nam Vet 68-71, I suffer from (PTSD, Agent Orange), after my third (3rd.) try for Disability & Compensation, I just received a decent percentage for PTSD, it only took me forty one years, (41 yrs.), yes thats correct, 41 years. I make it a point to log onto every nite, to keep myself informed & up to date, now I'm reading there is some general, one of President Obama yes men, who wants to cut our active men & women pay, as well as all retirees, including the men who are receiving Disability & Compensation for various illnesses, from Korea, Vietnam, & other conflicts, (WARS), which we fought for our country without asking any questions or regrets. I suggest, that we, meaning all active & retirees, & any other vet who can make it, we should put together a Peaceful (March), and march onto Washington, DC, to show how we are being treated by our own government, and just maybe, the people will wake up, and between reading the newspapers, and seeing the news, they just might come (ELECTION-TIME), wake up, and start to make some sound changes, but this is just my own opinion. May (God) bless our active men & women who are defending our country overseas, or on our home front, I personally want to wish you all the best & God-Speed, Thanks. Tim

  68. Michael T. | June 11, 2011 at 6:28 am |

    If you have served your country whether 3,4, or even 20 years, you should be able to go to school no problems. Even though wat is about to happen now to me is wrong, these kids or I should say adults earned the right to go to school with any cutting into their education. All the spending the United States is doing right now shouldnt effect a person from persuing a career field of what that person like.

  69. First thing is FIRE Chief of Con­tin­u­ing Edu­ca­tion Pro­grams, Car­olyn Baker. Then Stop the unneccesary wars in Iraq and Pakistan, stop fighting in Libya. Its now effecting our Veterans benefits. They deserve better treatment than this.

  70. You know what I think is ridiculous about this issues, is that the United States DoD has given over hundreds of millions of dollars to OTHER countries for financial aid. Why don't we start cutting those budgets and focus on the people, especially the military, in our own country.

  71. I am first wondering if I read this wrong … there is a $250 per credit hour limit with a $4500 per year cap? I don’t know many reputable schools with $250 per unit charges.

    I retired and now work for a major defense contrator. Our program covers up to $7500 per year (I think more for MS & PHD/DSc programs). I know it fully covers my MS program costs including books at %100.

    That our service members recieve substandard educational benefits is just wrong.

    For those who think this results from Democratic admin I will remind you that prior to Bush these benefits were higher — during my service. Also retirement at 20 years was reduced to %35 under Reagan and restored to %50 under Clinton.

  72. I am first wondering if I read this wrong … there is a $250 per credit hour limit with a $4500 per year cap? I don’t know many reputable schools with $250 per unit charges.

    I retired and now work for a major defense contrator. Our program covers up to $7500 per year (I think more for MS & PHD/DSc programs). I know it fully covers my MS program costs including books at %100.

    That our service members recieve substandard educational benefits is just wrong.

    For those who think this results from Democratic admin I will remind you that prior to Bush these benefits were higher — during my service. Also retirement at 20 years was reduced to %35 under Reagan and restored to %50 under Clinton.

  73. They must cut what they offer the Military so they can give more assistance to the illegal aliens flooding America for free food, housing, education and all else. So those who fight ofr us lose while those who take from us win. That's Obama's way of spreading the wealth only it is spreading the misery.

  74. Here is a novel idea. If cuts in the military budget are required, service members can and will make up the difference, if they want the degree. Life is about priorities. What is yours?

  75. Roxanne in MT | June 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm |

    I guess I do not understand why everyone here is complaining so much. When I served during the 90's, TA was 75%. Between that and Pell Grants, I never paid a penny for any of the classes I took.

  76. Yep…..and are so quick to jump on Obama and blame him for everything congress does. It was a Republican that is pushing this.

  77. Are you kidding me?? We put ourselves into this terrible economy. Like those people who lost their own homes by treating it as a bank, we did the same and we thought it would last forever. I didn't join for the GI Bill or any other ed benefit. Trust me, I'm glad I got them though. If it wasn't for my degree now, I'd have no clue what I'd be doing now.

    Please don't blame the economy on why these idiotic politicians are going to reduce benefits for our troops today. Its their fault in the first place. Want to make cuts? Start with their pay checks and benefits.

  78. JB Abn/Rgr | June 18, 2011 at 4:08 pm |

    Congress is too busy taking money from the fat cats to feather their own nests; cut military benefit funding and allow their fat cat buddies continue to more money than anyone needs in a lifetime. The fat cats need to step up and be patriotic to this great country—accept lower top exec salaries and pump more of that money into their companies and create jobs. These are the folks who need to be on the front lines of the war on terror!!

  79. My Opinion | June 28, 2011 at 12:17 am |

    So, they are cutting military TA…then all recriiters are liars when they say 100% of tuition will be paid…now, why are they on the chopping block first? Why not the welfare lazies(talking about people who are lazy and dont need it), or the illegals getting handouts giving nothing in return, or stop cleaning up NATO’s messes(you heard me right), and how about this giving that ungreatful nation Pakistan 3 billion a year(i didnt stutter)? Why is this stuff not on the chopping block first?
    My welfare solutions: drug tests & mandatory internet/phone tap to keep an eye out on them…if you want those handouts, gov. Should be able to see where its really going too
    My illegal solutions: throw them back overwe dont need a wall, we need posts with snipers given the shoot to kill as soon as their foot hits our soil…provides jobs amd secures the border better..the ones who come in trailers can be dragged out and shot, the drover can be hung on the grounds of treason…hey, illegals are criminals…criminals have no rights and should be treated as such
    My NATO solution: just say no…if they want something done, they can do it themselves..we can assist them, but we arent doing everything
    My solution the Pakistan problem: tell them to suck it, we have our own money problems

    I do think my ideas are radical…but these jerks in the White House have nothing to lose. Our military and their families stand to lose everything. Take care of them before the ones who have nothing to lose.

  80. Cturpin04 | July 10, 2011 at 3:42 am |

    Alot of great comments out there, but let me add this…
    The DoD gets knowingly ripped off on almost everything they buy!!! The two-way-radios for instance cost the military thousands! Just for ONE! It would cost a civilian a fraction of that cost. Who the hell negotiates prices for the DoD!? They should get a psych evaluation.

  81. Daniel Pena | July 27, 2011 at 7:51 pm |

    in 2008 I seen how bad the economy was and realized that I needed to get in school asap to use my benefits before they were wittled away by budgetary cuts. We're no sacred cows so get used to the idea of bohica

  82. Screaming EAGLE | August 1, 2011 at 7:04 pm |

    People ask why I think that those making a million Plus a year should pay more taxes?? I say they should pay because they will never have to receive a letter from the GOV saying your son or daughter died Honorably for his or her country. Yea thats right the only people who join the service are those who will need help getting into college who's daddy works at the plant or mill all of his days to put food on the table but still cant afford nothing more than hand me downs for you and your brothers and sisters who know the struggles of life and sometimes have to worry where the next meal is coming from. Its nothing new to us we have been there and done that. That is what makes us who we are. We are american soldiers who put our lives down for these rich JODY's who stay home and go to school on their little trust funds. I'm sorry if you want to call this class warfare but its not its just facts. We are chewing sand while they stay at home and enjoy the conveniences of freedom we die for. I'm tired of these imperialist fascist politicians until we get a working man into office and into congress we will never see this country as it should be.

  83. I have served in the military for 17 years and I have seen the benefits for TA go from 75% to 100%. The increase to 100% took on a great benefit to those who desired to go to school but were limited by their pay or assignments where going to college were not an option. This was problematic in the early 90s before online college became so popular with unlimited access. Off course less people were going to school before this option was available. Though more people are going to school in 2011 it is an option worth paying for investing in our people. At 100% we are getting better military personnel who bring new skills to current jobs and will benefit society as a whole when they separate or retire. Reducing TA will mean more people will not go to school and they some may use the GI Bill(which costs the government more than TA). Not to mention many military will choose not to use their GI Bill like myself for example who have made the decision to pass onto my children. I can understand if TA drops to 75% as a compromise but will this solve the debt crisis. Then schools which relied on military student will get less students directly impacting the economy and jobs which is alrady at 9% unemployment. Any more the government makes will directly impact something else. Have we looked at all the options before considering reducing TA and has the facts been reviewed to actually weigh the pros and cons of this plan. Just some things to think about. VR/WoodyK

  84. I am a military brat and 4th generation service member. I selected to leave the service tho after a short 5 yr enlistment plus extension. I now work as contractor at government facility. I have tons of family and friends still serving or retired. I left the service about a year ago. This morning at my job a bunch of employees gathered around which are mostly conservative minded and began a dialogue about how our military is made up of uneducated and overpaid. They stated that our country gives to much benefits to the service members and they're families who are also poor uneducated thugs or trailer trash. I am sorry that I could not defend my self and fellow service members, because I was so infuriated that I took a walk outside to cool off before I said something to get fired. I guess the tide is turning with the American Public since we go Bin Laden. If the people here had there way they would cut even more. I would expect that tuition assistance to go down to about 50% in another couple of years.

  85. If we had support free college education like they do in Europe, Canada, parts of Asia, we would not have to worry about paying for college. State of California had free college education until Ronald Reagan eliminated it. Since then, none of the California Governors who came after him have even tried to make college tuition free.

    You have my empathy BMJ, I have to deal with state employees who are conservatives and are blasting away even at their own unions. If they hate government and unions so much, then why did they become government employees in the first place? What I hate even much is many ex-servicemen who serve 20 or 30 years and got a pension and then complain about the military while knocking hippies, liberals, progressives, and anyone else who complain about the military.

  86. I’m prior AD & only rcvd 75% TA & pd 25% out of pocket. It’s a BENEFIT ("an act of kindness"), not a RIGHT. FREE medical, dental, vision coverage & mental coverage. FREE gym, swimming pools, movie theaters, parks, softball/baseball fields, golf courses, bowling centers, clubs, BAS, BAH, clothing allowance, GI Bill Benefits, MWR&commissary privileges, fam sep pay, COLA, tax-free at some locations, mil discounts.Did I mention 30 days vacation accumulated a yr (if Ur off half a day, U don't use leave), 4 sick time given 2 U, fam days 2 make many holidays a 4 day wknd (don't have 2 use leave), every federal holiday off. All free 4 EVERY mbr of Ur immediate fam. In the civilian sec2r U PAY 4 all that & 4 each fam mbr. I don't know what mil U served in, the 1 I did was more than fair. Not everyone who serves "puts their life on the line" & it sure doesn’t entitle them 2 Btr Benefits than the rest of U.S.citizens. Most AD work 0730-1630 M-F occ wknds during exercises & inspections. B grateful 2 taxpayers who give U a paycheck& all the other Benefits U receive,BENEFITS NOT RIGHTS,if U don't like it, get out of MY mil I proudly served!

  87. yeah, a good amount of good benefits. BUT what about that 25 year old Sgt with kids living on base only getting his 2400 base pay and a few hundred extra in BAS, who plans to finish his degree when he gets out. now the GI bill expects him to take on school full time and support his family with just BAH? right. why not give him 100% TA to jump start his education he wouldnt otherwise be able to afford before he gets out? (yes he could use his GI bill while active, but he wouldnt be able to take on a full load and those benefits would run out before he graduated) PLUS IF CONGRESS WAS SMART THEY WOULD FIGURE OUT THAT THE MORE EDUCATION YOU GET DONE WITH TA WHILE ACTIVE, THE SOONER ONE GETS THEIR DEGREE WHEN THEY ARE OUT AND USING GI BILL, HENCE A GOOD AMOUNT WILL NOT USE THEIR FULL GI BILL BENEFITS…….. WHICH WOULD END UP SAVING THE GOVT A LOT MORE MONEY.

  88. … by the way, congress is running up the debt by the tune of 4.2 billion a day and they are trying to save by cutting military TA of 542 million annually by 25%. yes, lets put our time and energy into cutting $500million programs by 25% until we get this spending under control. in other words, for that day they cut $370,000 out of the 4.2BILLION DOLLARS THEY WENT IN DEBT THAT DAY. if they kept up this awesome work of cutting spending by the same amount each day, it would take 10,810 days…. or about 30 years. great job congress… btw what is their pension like? i dont think i even want to know.

  89. Stunning…everyone deserves less…no one should complain…..Red Flags to wave anyone?

  90. geselle pin | October 17, 2011 at 6:37 pm |

    Reducing the amount of tuition assistance will increase the amount of requests for financial aid which will not be met.
    More and more military students, unable to afford tuition, will drop out.
    Military branches, like the Marine Corps, are being reduced by thousands.
    These service members, unable to get their degree, will increase the percentage of unemployment in the United States.
    I know we can tap into the GI Bill, but it is a limited amount of money that we are working with. To have our education benefits reduced as payment for the job that we do and the time we spend away from our families is depressing.

  91. .1%, that's right, .1% of the $500 Billion Annual DOD Budget is what TA costs at its current rate. Cutting it won't make a dent, not even a little dent. Cutting the rate down to $175 per credit hour is one thing, but $875 annually for the USMC? Ridiculous. Here's the truth. DOD has to cut back the forces. 40K for the Army, 20K for the Marines, 4K for the Navy. That's 64,000 people that need to go. Usually with crime, and physical standards, and PTS the numbers are met, but with the dwindling economy, servicemen are more well behaved than ever, even without proper diagnosis of PTSD. This is an attempt to "cut down" the forces. Wake up people.

  92. david richardso | October 26, 2011 at 10:35 am |

    Since 1978 tuition has went up , ready…..900%. Just like fannnie and Freddie with the housing debacle. Everthing the Gov subsidises will eventually crash. Sadly the military will cut its TA, while our president wants to forgive current student loans for those who have never served in uniform.

  93. For all those idiots who beleive military members should be grate full and appreciative of the scraps bestowed upon us I want you to consider this… TA in many cases is the only avenue to for enlisted to enhance their education. Officers particulary those who graduated fom a service academy got a free ride and event get grad schoo paid on tax payer dime. In my 26 yrs of service I remember the old days of 75% not including books and school fees and as a junior enlisted member I recall having to pinch pennies while working towards my BA. Now BAH is cut, cost of living is high, and you want the backbone of the military workforce to come out of their pockets futher. You folks are idiots. You are all for cuts until it hits you. wait until these tea-bagger reps begin coming after your hard earned bennies then we will see if you change your tone

  94. Instead of complaining? Well we no longer receive tuition assistance. Testament to our inept government.

  95. 542 million. the price of maybe 20 some pro athletes a year. Lets cut tuition assistance 100%, but lets keep our own salaries going and create a bureaucratic loophole. Soldiers must complete college to gain rank, but lets not pay them to do so, so we can cut 85,000 soldiers from the service due to failure to progress. Guess soldiers (lower enlisted) have to work at McDonalds as a second job, eh? Blind being lead by the greedy. I'm sorry, I love our country- but it is no longer the greatest country in the world. And it used to be. Now, it only is because its my home. This government needs people who care about the ones who protect it.

  96. I dont understand why everytime our country needs to do a budget cut the governement always go after education. There are other ways to cut. Like over paid politicians drinking 10$ coffe on a 20$ mug, giving food stamps, WIC and section 8 for people who are just lazy and dont want to find a job. Education is what this country needs to move forward. Cutting education funds is that last thing we need and Im not just talking about the Military but Education period.

  97. for all those idiots that says "dont complain", "TA is a benefit not an entitlement", i dare you say that to those family members and even service members that have lost loved ones fighting for the freedom of this country so that Congressmen and the president could exercise this rights, WAS LOSING A LOVED ONE ALSO A PART OF THE BENEFITS WE GET? i tell you no amount of money or power could ever replace those loved ones lost in the war or the pain their families carry with them everyday..AMERICA should always be thankful there are brave men & women out there willing to serve the fight for its freedom! the TA enables service members to better their education goals not only for military career progress but for when they do get out of the military & for their families too..for the many sacrifices we ask this people to do for us, why cut something that is important to them, especially one that has to do with the troop's moral. When a service member goes to college, it gives them hope of a better future for not only them but for their families. Of all the spending America is doing, this is the last resort they had to come to, what about cutting down the president's and the congressmen's salaries, all they do is sit on their asses and make budget cuts other than their own.

  98. To all those w snide comments, how bout you go sign up. Or maybe your children, see how tough you talk then. Those troops GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO TALK SHIT TO THEM……. YOUR WELCOME ASSHOLE


  100. MR. America | March 12, 2013 at 9:51 pm |

    At least the troops are doing a service unlike all the unemployed people who live off of the system. Obama wants to give tax payers money to those who do nothing and take away from those that work and serve the country.

  101. why not cut some of the money we pay these politicians we need to go back to a time when politicians were actualy fighting for the people they represent not just collecting a paycheck

  102. Tuition assistance is a vital part of our military members' education benefits. Some have suggested that it is part of a number of benefits offered to service members, and I agree. Why it is so crucial in some ways can be seen immediately. Those that take advantage of TA while they are in the service help themselves become promotable. As the military downsizes, the requirements for a leaner, smarter military implore education dollars to be used. While grants and Financial Aid help to fill the gap, the service as a whole tends to be against excessive debt, especially for student loans if necessary. With more G.I. Bill benefits being transferred and rising tuition costs, active military members need every dollar they can get. What's more, military members who take advantage of TA while they are in the service have many institutions offering reduced tuition near or equal to the TA total, thus helping service members save money. Finally, any service member who takes advantage of TA and takes classes towards, or completes a degree before leaving the military helps their private sector employment prospects significantly and may help themselves become less of a burden on other federal benefits, such as TRICARE.

  103. myOWNcompass | March 28, 2013 at 5:09 am |

    Maybe I would not be quite so pi**ed off if States were not funding the college educations of ILLEGAL ALIENS.


  104. what the f*** is going on with tuition assistance!!!!!!!!!!!!! They paid for everything then about mid semester they took it all back and now saying that i have to pay for it because they are out of money. So i gave them a call and asked them what the F*** am i suppose to do its in the middle of the semester???? I dont know but we are unable to help you have a nice day…..

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