Central Texas College is offering grants to active-duty military students affected by the suspension of the tuition assistance program.

The grants are available to current military students who used the Army’s tuition assistance program this academic year, the college announced Tuesday.

New military students who applied for admission prior to the date the program was suspended by the Department of Defense also are eligible. The Army cut the program — which paid up to $4,500 per year for a soldier’s tuition — on March 8.

The CTC Tuition Assistance Grant can be used for one class beginning on or prior to April 30, according to a statement issued by the college. The course also must be part of the student’s degree plan.

“We have a long tradition of offering great educational value to our military students,” said Thomas Klincar, the college’s chancellor. “We don’t want these students to lose their momentum. We hope this grant will enable them to stay focused on degree completion.”

The tuition assistance program was created to help active-duty service members complete a high school diploma, certificate program or college degree. The Army, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard suspended tuition assistance programs earlier this month in order to cope with automatic federal budget cuts, also called sequestration, which went into effect March 1.

Armywide, the program provided $373 million to more than 201,000 soldiers during fiscal year 2012. At Fort Hood, more than 11,700 soldiers participated in the program at a cost of $4.8 million a year.

The suspension of the program not only affects military students at the college’s Killeen campus, but also those taking courses at locations at Fort Hood and at military installations overseas.

“CTC staff around the world, including forward deployed locations, will work with students to identify alternate sources for education funding,” Klincar said. “In this time of belt-tightening, the value (the college) provides should make us the clear choice for these students. Many students will find federal grants cover the entire cost of their CTC courses.”

Contact Chris McGuinness at chrism@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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