Monday, October 07, 2013

More shutdown pain-military members kicked out of college

We've seen war memorials closed, national monuments closed, and the Amber Alert website shut down.  This week's intentional shutdown pain is coming to tens of thousands of members of the military attending college.

In my inbox today-
Dear David,
The unfortunate delay in government funding for the current fiscal year might have an impact on soldiers enrolled in AMU/APU courses that start Monday, 7 October.  Unless Congress enacts a Continuing Resolution by Monday night, all October course registrations in GoArmyEd (GAE), will be dropped by GAE on Tuesday, 8 October.  You should also know that Army guidance to all colleges and universities is not to allow TA students to reenroll in October courses even if funding is authorized shortly after drops have occurred.
Federal Tuition Assistance is a supplemental program to the GI Bill.  It pays tuition directly to colleges and universities for all active duty military members and was extended to cover the Guard and Reserve several years back.  Students sign up with GoArmyEd, the clearinghouse website for FTA, and the military branch they belong to will pay tuition to the school for approved courses.  You may recall the sudden cancellation of the Federal Tuition Assistance program earlier this year caused thousands of VFW members to call Congress, which quickly got it reinstated.

Today's email means that absent a shutdown deal, I and tens of thousands of other members of the military will be dropped from our college courses intentionally.  Even if funding is restored tomorrow, military guidance is to prevent students from simply re-enrolling with the same funding source.  Worse yet, the military is forcing colleges to drop any students enrolled with Federal Tuition Assistance, even if they have other funding available.

So for example, I enrolled in my senior seminar in history, and the class starts today.  Because I used FTA to pay for the class, I will be dropped from the course tomorrow, losing any and all work I may have done.  My college transcript will show that I was dropped from the course, even if I re-enroll, which I will have to do by paying the tuition out of pocket and hoping to be reimbursed by the military at some point.

The military could simply issue guidance that funding is unavailable and tell students to work with their college or university to arrange different payment.  Instead, they are forcing colleges to drop students from class, lose any work they have done in the class, and re-enroll with different funding.

Another example of the Spite House making this situation as painful as possible because they think it benefits them politically.

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