Military tuition assistance program could be saved - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Military's tuition assistance program could be saved; CFCC leaders watch, wait

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Leaders at the Military Affairs Office at Cape Fear Community College are closely watching the debate over funding for a program that helps active military members pay for school.

The Army, Marines and Air Force all plan to dump their tuition assistance programs after this semester because of the federal sequestration.

Wednesday afternoon, Senator Kay Hagan (D – N.C.) added an amendment to a spending bill that would restore the tuition assistance for service members.

That bill passed the Senate; it is expected to pass in the House.

Tuition assistance helps active duty military members pay for college.

At CFCC, two dozen students take advantage of that program.

"This to me is a travesty," said Bob Philpott, who heads the school's Veterans Affairs Office. "The people in uniform have been made promises. The people in the military have been told they're going to get help getting an education. It's important to the work force to have an educated work force. So why did we do this? To me, it's wrong."

Philpott has been helping those who could be impacted by the cuts to find scholarships.

He's hopeful that efforts to restore the program work.

"If they take away tuition assistance, what's next?" he asked. "Which promises are we going to keep? Which promises are we going to back down on?"

In a press release, Hagan stated, "We cannot balance our budget on the backs of service members, and this amendment to restore Tuition Assistance will help us keep the promises we've made to them. The brave men and women who serve in uniform have never given up on our country, and today the Senate signaled that we won't give up on them."

The House could pass the spending bill Thursday.

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