Central Texas College is attempting to assist military students affected by the suspension of the Army’s tuition assistance program find alternate ways to pay for their education.

Jim Yeonopolis, the college’s deputy chancellor of continental and international campus operations, said CTC wants to help military students identify and apply for grants, scholarships, loans and other benefits that may be used in place of funds provided by the now suspended programs.

“It was a sudden announcement, and we want (service members) to know that we stand ready to help them,” Yeonopolis said. “We want to point out to them that there are other options they may be eligible for. It’s not a dead end.”

Those options could include Pell grants, student financial aid and even educational benefits under the GI Bill.

“Who can get what depends on the individual and what they are eligible for,” Yeonopolis said.

The college has education centers and staff available to help military members at its local and international campuses. Yeonopolis encouraged students who need help to contact CTC as soon as possible.

“The quicker they come in, the better,” he said. “Some of these processes take time.”

On Friday, the Army announced soldiers were no longer permitted to submit new requests for tuition assistance. Soldiers already enrolled in approved tuition assistance courses before Friday would be allowed to complete their current course enrollment.

The program was created to help active-duty military complete a high school diploma, certificate or college degree program, and paid all tuition and fees up to $250 per credit hour, or $4,500 per year.

The suspension could have a lasting impact not only on CTC military students, but also on the college itself. The college has campuses in Killeen, at Fort Hood and internationally at military installations in Europe and the Far East. About 60 percent of the college’s students are military affiliated, Yeonopolis said, although not all of them will be affected by the suspension of the tuition assistance program.

Because some students at its continental and international campuses are still registering for upcoming classes, and because no announcement has been made regarding how long the program will be suspended, Yeonopolis said the college does not have an estimate on how much money the suspension will cost the school.

“As we get further down the road, we’ll know more about the impact this will have on us,” he said.

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

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