The continued government shutdown may force many active-duty soldiers to pay out-of-pocket for the cost for their classes, according to officials from Central Texas College.
CTC courses for the military at 140 sites across the globe, including Fort Hood, began this week. Normally, many of those military personnel would pay for classes using the military’s Tuition Assistance Program. However, the program was suspended Oct. 1 due to the federal government shutdown.
For those who did not register before Oct. 1 for CTC’s five- and eight-week session courses that began this week, it is already too late to apply for tuition assistance for those courses.
That leaves those service members with the choice of either paying for the courses out of pocket, or waiting until the next session of the course, which won’t start until January.
“If they cannot come up with other means of paying their tuition outside of tuition assistance, they will not be able to register and thus have to put their education on hold,” wrote Bruce Vasbiner, a spokesman for the college, in a written statement issued to the Herald on Tuesday.
“Tuition assistance is not retroactive, and if students miss this or the next term, they will have to register for available classes in the next available eight-week session once the shutdown is over and tuition assistance is reinstated.”
Should the shutdown continue beyond next week, when another group of courses is slated to start, the college estimated that “thousands” of soldiers would be affected.
Roughly 36 percent of the college tuition revenue comes from active-duty military personnel enrolled in the college’s courses around the world. College Chancellor Thomas Klincar addressed students at CTC’s campuses around the world Oct. 7 via an online video address.
“The suspension of tuition assistance to you, our students, is having a tremendous impact that concerns all of us at CTC,” Klincar said.
Klincar encouraged students to continue their education, advising those who could not take classes to speak with CTC staff and look at other options, including online courses that start on a monthly basis.
“We’re staying with you,” Klincar said.
Contact Chris McGuinness at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.