The House of Representatives approved legislation championed by Senator Mazie K. Hirono to protect tuition assistance for military service members from cuts. As a part of sequestration and budget constraints, the Marines, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard recently announced the suspension of military tuition assistance for students serving in the military.
Hirono was an original cosponsor of the legislation that passed the Senate as a bipartisan amendment to the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act that funds the government. President Obama has signaled he will sign the legislation.
"I am very pleased to see this important bill that protects tuition assistance for our brave service members has passed both the House and the Senate," said Hirono. "Some 380,000 men and women in the military utilize this earned benefit every year, and this legislation will ensure many more can continue to do so. Tuition assistance is a key tool in recruiting and maintaining a strong and talented force, and this measure will make good on that promise to our men and women who serve our military."
The DOD estimated that 380,000 service members utilized tuition assistance in 2010, a figure on par with funding in recent years. The legislation Hirono cosponsored will allow the Department of Defense to continue the tuition assistance program for service members in Hawaii and everywhere else.
Military Tuition Assistance is provided to service members attending school part time while in the military, while the GI Bill is designed for full time students transitioning out of the military.
Studies show that educational opportunities are a top reason people join the military and a top reason they stay in the military. In some cases, this education has direct applications to a service member's work and helps service members take advantage of leadership opportunities in the military.
H.R. 933, the Consolidated and Further Appropriations Act that keeps the government running, passed the Senate on a strong, bipartisan vote of 73-26 yesterday and passed the House of Representatives today. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.