Paycheck Chronicles

Is Tuition Assistance Safe?


Sequestration, budget, and debt ceiling issues have created a lot of questions.  One military benefit that has seemed ripe for curtailment is Tuition Assistance (TA).  Recently, Department of Defense (DoD) Comptroller Robert Hale spoke about the future of TA.  Please keep in mind that his comments were during part of a longer new briefing on a wide variety of issues; his vagueness is most likely the result of the situation in the briefing.  Also remember that this is an actual transcript of a conversation, not a written release.

Question:  Tuition assistance, G.I. Bill, what happens with that going forward? What's the situation now?

Comptroller Hale:   I mean, I assume -- we will -- we will, I think, pay tuition assistance. G.I. Bill is funded in another agency, but the tuition assistance we will pay, I think more or less at the levels that were programmed. I mean, we're not planning to cut it back substantially.

Now, we continue to look at it in the context of overall budget reductions. And there may be some -- some trims, but we know it's an important program, and we won't stop it, and we will continue to fund it.

There may have been some temporary interruptions during the shutdown, but -- but we'll continue to support the program. We know it's important to our people.

There is good news and bad news in Comptroller Hale's responses.  Yes, the DoD knows that TA is important to the troops and plans to continue to fund it.  However, it will continue to be looked at in light of the budget reductions.

My completely random guess?  Tuition assistance benefits will continue to be slowly reduced.  Nothing drastic, but a little bit here and there.  What is the best thing you can do?  Use your tuition assistance benefits as soon as you are able.  If no changes occur, you'll still be ahead in your education.  If changes do occur, you'll have used as much benefit as possible.

Good to know.

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