Leaders Ask Defense Dept. To Reinstate Tuition Aid For Military Students
"As the government shutdown dragged into a second week, college leaders and members of Congress urged the U.S. Department of Defense to reinstate its tuition-assistance program, and to let all civilian professors at the service academies return to work," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. "On Sunday, Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University, sent a letter to the defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, asking his agency to resume the processing of applications for its Military Tuition Assistance program, which helps members of the armed forces attend college. The Defense Department announced last week that it would not award any aid for classes starting on or after October 1 until Congress passed a spending bill. Northeastern has 100 students affected by the decision. Mr. Aoun said he was 'extremely dismayed' that some branches of the military were advising students to withdraw from their programs or to postpone enrollment until the shutdown ended. 'Surely DOD has existing capacity during the government shutdown to review, process, and approve on a contingent basis' pending applications for tuition assistance, he wrote. The Military Tuition Assistance program provides up to $4,500 a year in tuition aid to active-duty members of the military. In the letter, Mr. Aoun said Northeastern would cover any tuition charges incurred by active-duty service members at the institution as a result of the shutdown, 'for the time being.' Meanwhile, Rep. Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, asked Mr. Hagel to extend a furlough exemption to faculty members at the nation's service academies. The defense secretary announced on Saturday that most civilian employees of the department who had been furloughed as a result of the shutdown would be asked to return to work under the Pay Our Military Act, which was signed into law on September 30, to keep active-duty military personnel on the job. ... Since the shutdown started last Tuesday, the five undergraduate service academies have canceled some classes and closed some facilities. Some of the academies warned that a prolonged shutdown could threaten their academic accreditation. Others, such as the U.S. Naval Academy, announced they were operating normally on Monday."
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