March 20, 2013

HIRONO COSPONSORED BILL TO REINSTATE TUITION ASSISTANCE FOR SERVICE MEMBERS PASSES SENATE, HEADS TO HOUSE FOR APPROVAL

Hirono: "Our military personnel sacrifice a tremendous amount, and our men and women in uniform deserve to pursue academic opportunities"

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate approved legislation cosponsored 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 termination of military tuition assistance for new students. If passed by the House of Representatives, today’s bipartisan amendment to the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act that funds the government would restore this assistance to service members.

“Our military personnel sacrifice a tremendous amount, and our men and women in uniform deserve to pursue academic opportunities,” said Senator Hirono. “Many service members have taken advantage of this earned benefit, and this bill will ensure many more will continue to do so. I am optimistic that my colleagues in the House of Representatives will pass this legislation and get our service members the relief they deserve.”

This bill 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. The Army alone has more than 200,000 active duty, Army Reserve, and National Guard troops currently using tuition assistance.

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, passed the Senate on a strong, bipartisan vote of 73-26 and now must be passed by the House of Representatives in order to go to President Obama for his signature. The House is expected to pass the bill this week which would prevent a government shut down on March 27.