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The Army, Air Force and Marine Corps have restored their tuition assistance program allowing soldiers who have been pre-approved to receive funding for higher education.
On March 21, Congress voted to have the Defense Department locate the necessary funding to reboot the programs for all military branches. It wasn’t released until April 15 that some of these programs would be up and running.
Sequestration had cut educational funding military programs for the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and National Guard. The Navy was the only branch to not cut its program for soldiers.
“Our military personnel defend our right to education,” said Pierce College student Courtney Harris. “I believe that coming back they should have every opportunity to get the education that they want.”
The National Guard is still under review concerning whether it will provide assistance for its members.
However, Pierce College offers alternative options for military students to pay for college.
Students have the option of using the G.I. Bill. Although these benefits are typically intended for veterans, service members can start this program while on active duty.
Another option is federal student aid. This covers several different funding options including loans, grants and work-study programs. It’s open to all civilians and military personnel based on financial need, tuition, etc. Soldiers are still eligible even if they’ve received the G.I. Bill.
Military students can also look into scholarships. Scholarships can be found at the national and state level with the majority of applications due in spring for the upcoming school year. Some are also available during the fall, winter and summer.
Students may also invest in self-installment plans that allow tuition to be divided up three ways and paid throughout the quarter.
Soldiers have the opportunity to test for college credit. This can be done through taking college-level mastery tests that award college credit without having to take new courses. This is taken through the Pierce College Military Program, a national testing center, that permits active-duty personnel to take a variety of tests for free at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
For further information concerning options for educational funding, go to the website www.pierce.ctc.edu/
military/affordability/funding, or contact the Pierce College Military Programs Student Services at 253-964-6606 or 253-964-6567.
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