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Letter to Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense - Military Tuition Assistance

The Honorable Chuck Hagel
Secretary of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400

Dear Secretary Hagel:

We write to urge the immediate reinstatement of all suspended Department of Defense tuition assistance programs. Earlier this month, the Army, Marines, and Air Force suspended all tuition assistance programs as a cost-savings measure due to sequestration. While we understand the Department of Defense must make tough choices in the face of sequestration and current budget cuts, we wholly disagree with the decisions to suspend this critical program.

As you know, tuition assistance programs provide service members the opportunity to better themselves personally and professionally. Service members can use tuition assistance programs to earn a diploma, gain college credit, and even earn a college degree. Not only do these programs benefit the individual service member, but they also benefit the armed forces as a whole. Tuition assistance programs enable soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines to directly contribute to the professionalization of their individual service component. As a voluntary program, we applaud every participant who has striven to better themselves, their organization, and their country through education.

The tuition assistance program must be allowed to continue unhindered. Our service members have come to rely on support from the Department and Congress for this needed program. In the Army alone, over 201,000 soldiers participated in Fiscal Year 2012. The number of Army participants shows the value of the program and the commitment to personal and professional growth.

We strongly urge you to reconsider the decision to allow the services to suspend tuition assistance and provide our service member's with the education assistance they have earned.

Thank you for your efforts and for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Rep. Ron Barber, Arizona
Rep. Spencer Bachus, Alabama
Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis, Florida
Rep. Madeleine Z. Bordallo, Guam
Rep. John R. Carter, Texas
Rep. Kathy Castor, Florida
Rep. David Cicilline, Rhode Island
Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland
Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, Oregon
Rep. Suzan K. DelBene, Washington
Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, Connecticut
Rep. John D. Dingell, Michigan
Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Texas
Rep. Sam Farr, California
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii
Rep. Pete P. Gallego, Texas
Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona
Rep. Denny Heck, Washington
Rep. Rush Holt, New Jersey
Rep. Daniel T. Kildee, Michigan
Rep. Ann M. Kuster, New Hampshire
Rep. David Loebsack, Iowa
Rep. Alan Lowenthal, California
Rep. Ed Markey, Massachusetts
Rep. Jim Matheson, Utah
Rep. Betty McCollum, Minnesota
Rep. James P. McGovern, Massachusetts
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, District of Columbia
Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Texas
Rep. Scott Peters, California
Rep. Mark Pocan, Wisconsin
Rep. Ted Poe, Texas
Rep. Nick J. Rahall, II, West Virginia
Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York
Rep. Bobby Rush, Illinois
Rep. Loretta Sanchez, California
Rep. Adam B. Schiff, California
Rep. Robert C. Scott, Virginia
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, New Hampshire
Rep. Eric Swalwell, California
Rep. Mark Takano, California
Rep. Mike Thompson, California
Rep. Niki Tsongas, Massachusetts
Rep. Juan Vargas, California
Rep. Maxine Waters, California


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