May 20, 2018
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Students in military can apply for tuition aid once again

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — After a brief shutdown, the U.S. Army and Air Force reactivated online services Wednesday that will allow students in the service to apply for tuition aid.

In March, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard officials announced they would be shutting down their tuition aid programs in response the the across-the-board federal spending cuts that took effect March 1.

Congress intervened, passing a six-month spending bill on March 21 that directed the military to reinstate the programs., the website that administers the online enrollment system for the Army, put the application service back online Wednesday. Any student-soldiers who have received tuition aid in the past should receive an email from notifying them that the service is back online.

“The good news is that March and April are in the middle of the semester,” so few students were affected by the program’s brief hiatus, according to Maj. Michael Steinbuchel, spokesman for the Maine National Guard.

Steinbuchel said the Maine National Guard is reaching out to its troops to notify them that tuition assistance has returned.

That aid gives students a maximum of $4,500 per year based on the number of credit hours they take.

Tuition assistance programs have proved popular throughout the nation. According to Army records, 201,000 soldiers used the program in fiscal year 2012, with the federal government paying $373 million toward their educations.

Politicians and military officials say tuition aid is a powerful recruiting tool, a fitting reward for service and an incentive for students to pursue education to advance their careers after the military.

The Marines and Coast Guard are expected to restart their application and payment processes later this month.

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