Shea-Porter Applauds Provisions Protecting Funding for Military Tuition Assistance
For Immediate Release
Ben Wakana, 202-225-5456
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter applauded the inclusion of provisions protecting funding for the military’s tuition assistance program in the Continuing Resolution signed by President Obama yesterday.
“We have a solemn commitment to the men and women of our armed forces, and I am glad Congress came together in support of this common sense amendment,” Shea-Porter said.
The Congresswoman also called on the House and Senate to resolve sequestration so this important program will not be put in jeopardy going forward.
“Next year, the arbitrary and reckless cuts from sequestration could once again threaten tuition assistance for men and women of the military,” Shea-Porter said. “Instead of stop-gap fixes, we need a long-term budget solution that helps create jobs, reduces the deficit, and protects programs vital to the middle-class and our armed forces.”
The military tuition assistance program was created to help service members reach their academic goals and prepare for their inevitable transition back to the civilian workforce. The tuition assistance programs provide up to $4,500 per year for service members to continue their education. According to news reports, service members took 870,000 courses and earned 50,500 degrees, diplomas and certificates in 2012.
Last week, Congresswoman Shea-Porter signed a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel urging the Pentagon to “reconsider the decision to allow the services to suspend tuition assistance and provide our service members with the education assistance they have earned.”
A copy of the letter is below.
March 20, 2013
The Honorable Chuck Hagel
Secretary of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400
Dear Secretary Hagel:
We write to urge the immediate reinstatement of all suspended Department of Defense tuition assistance programs. Earlier this month, the Army, Marines, and Air Force suspended all tuition assistance programs as a cost-savings measure due to sequestration. While we understand the Department of Defense must make tough choices in the face of sequestration and current budget cuts, we wholly disagree with the decisions to suspend this critical program.
As you know, tuition assistance programs provide service members the opportunity to better themselves personally and professionally. Service members can use tuition assistance programs to earn a diploma, gain college credit, and even earn a college degree. Not only do these programs benefit the individual service member, but they also benefit the armed forces as a whole. Tuition assistance programs enable soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines to directly contribute to the professionalization of their individual service component. As a voluntary program, we applaud every participant who has striven to better themselves, their organization, and their country through education.
The tuition assistance program must be allowed to continue unhindered. Our service members have come to rely on support from the Department and Congress for this needed program. In the Army alone, over 201,000 soldiers participated in Fiscal Year 2012. The number of Army participants shows the value of the program and the commitment to personal and professional growth.
We strongly urge you to reconsider the decision to allow the services to suspend tuition assistance and provide our service member's with the education assistance they have earned.
Thank you for your efforts and for your consideration of this request.
Rep. Ron Barber, Arizona
Rep. Spencer Bachus, Alabama
Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis, Florida
Rep. Madeleine Z. Bordallo, Guam
Rep. John R. Carter, Texas
Rep. Kathy Castor, Florida
Rep. David Cicilline, Rhode Island
Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland
Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, Oregon
Rep. Suzan K. DelBene, Washington
Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, Connecticut
Rep. John D. Dingell, Michigan
Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Texas
Rep. Sam Farr, California
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii
Rep. Pete P. Gallego, Texas
Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona
Rep. Denny Heck, Washington
Rep. Rush Holt, New Jersey
Rep. Daniel T. Kildee, Michigan
Rep. Ann M. Kuster, New Hampshire
Rep. David Loesback, Iowa
Rep. Alan Lowenthal, California
Rep. Ed Markey, Massachusetts
Rep. Jim Matheson, Utah
Rep. Betty McCollum, Minnesota
Rep. James P. McGovern, Massachusetts
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, District of Columbia
Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Texas
Rep. Scott Peters, California
Rep. Mark Pocan, Wisconsin
Rep. Ted Poe, Texas
Rep. Nick J. Rahall, II, West Virginia
Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York
Rep. Bobby Rush, Illinois
Rep. Loretta Sanchez, California
Rep. Adam B. Schiff, California
Rep. Robert C. Scott, Virginia
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, New Hampshire
Rep. Eric Swalwell, California
Rep. Mark Takano, California
Rep. Mike Thompson, California
Rep. Niki Tsongas, Massachusetts
Rep. Juan Vargas, California
Rep. Maxine Waters, California