WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) announced Tuesday that he will co-sponsor new legislation that would restore tuition benefits for active duty service members that were cut as a result of budget sequestration.
Recently, the United States Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard were forced to terminate their branches’ tuition assistance for active duty service members in response to sweeping cuts imposed by budget sequestration. Tuition assistance is a critical benefit for service members, and is used by hundreds of thousands of active duty military who earn degrees part-time in fields that directly improve their skills on and off the battlefield. In Connecticut, thousands of active duty service men and women rely on the military tuition assistance program to obtain their degrees. This bipartisan bill, introduced by U.S. Senators Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), would prevent drastic cuts to the tuition assistance program and allow active duty service members to continue their education.
“It’s outrageous that the sequester strips education benefits from service members who put their lives on the line for us every day,” said Murphy. “These brave men and women are working to get their degrees so they can not only improve their work on the battlefield, but also improve other skills that they’ll need to get a job when they return home. Connecticut residents who are currently deployed overseas have called and written to ask me to support restored funding for this program, and I’m proud to do it. I thank them for their service, and fully support their continued education.”
Active duty service men and women, and parents of service members, wrote to Murphy to encourage him to support this bill. Below are excerpts from two Connecticut service members who urged Murphy to support the legislation:
As a member of the military and one that makes personal sacrifice to support my country and government I find it insulting that one of the few benefits that we have left us being cut. Neither I nor any of my fellow soldiers deserve to lose our tuition assistance in a time when it's hard enough to pay our bills on the salaries we earn. Being able to better myself by taking college courses and earning a degree serves both me and my country and having better educated soldiers should be important to you as well especially with how many are re-entering the private sector and trying to get jobs and help our economy. I am not one that is in it for the money as I take great pride in serving my country I just wish my country would take pride in offering benefits to their soldiers. Please help save our tuition assistance. –Stephen Froberg, Plainville, CT
Cutting the Tuition Assistance Program will make our country will suffer on the whole. With the increase of a technological force, education has been pushed up as a priority in our military. As a U.S. Reservist, during my last deployment I was able to complete my Associates Degree. This time I was hoping to finish my Bachelor’s Degree. I ask for you please not to do away with this program. It will also help many soldiers upon their return from Theater to get work in what is already a challenging economy. –MSG TJ Finn, Stamford, CT