Veterans to receive tuition assistance again

Veterans to receive tuition assistance again

By Matt Daray


Veterans enrolled in higher education remain eligible for financial aid because of a congressional resolution.

Congress voted Thursday to reinstate military tuition subsidies, a move that reversed the March 8 military official decision to cut tuition assistance because of mandatory sequestration cuts. The tuition assistance was part of the Senate Continuing Resolution, which provides government funding for the next six months and seeks to avert what would be a government shutdown. The resolution instructs the Pentagon to find money outside of cutting tuition assistance, which cannot be fully cut.


All armed-services branches, except the Coast Guard, are affected by this amendment, according to a Huffington Post article.

Although Congress reversed the cuts, University President Glenn Poshard said it wasn’t a surprise that tuition assistance was initially dropped.

“It’s been cut steadily over the last three years,” he said. “I think we anticipated that it probably would be cut again.”

However, Poshard said the university had been exploring areas to help veterans. He said the university would attempt to provide veterans a college education and would not shortchange them if the original amendment had remained in effect.

“We have been designated by Military Times as one of the top two, three schools in the country that are military-friendly,” he said. “We have no intentions of cutting back in any way of trying to afford our veterans’ education.”

Campus veterans are excited by the return of the tuition assistance for themselves and their fellow brothers-in-arms.

Nicholas Kaiser, a senior from Normal studying speech communication, said the government holds up its end of the bargain through the resolution.


“When I signed the contract for active service, what was implied in the contract was when my years of service were up, I would get educational benefits,” he said.

Kaiser said he thinks Congress reinstated the tuition assistance because both Democrats and Republicans support the armed services. He said both political parties have a better presence when they support the troops.

Overall, Kaiser said the university has strongly supported veterans.

“I feel that SIU has done more than its part in helping me as a veteran,” he said. “I feel, honestly, a lot of veterans chose SIUC because military magazines rank it very high in regards to care to veterans.”

Kaiser said while the university provides an abundance of veteran resources, several areas could still use work. The Veterans Center is understaffed, and workers sometimes take on multiple jobs, he said.

Alan Karas, a junior from Villa Park studying aviation technology, said he is glad Congress asked to reinstate the assistance.

“I think it’s fantastic for the military that’s still on active duty,” he said. “I don’t think it should have been on the chopping block in the first place.”

Karas said the university has offered veterans many opportunities and has provided him with excellent student support. While it’s great to have the tuition back, he said he thinks Congress was pressured to bring it back.

“I’m sure they got a lot of flak from the military and people affiliated with the military,” he said. “They’re trying to appease the American people by reinstating it.”