By Cpl. Paris Capers, Quantico Sentry
Marines around the world interested in pursuing higher education -- whether to become competitive for promotion or prepare for a head start as a civilian -- received news March 4 that the Marine Corps no longer offers tuition assistance due to budgetary constraints.
Without tuition assistance there is still hope for servicemembers to achieve their education goals with the help of financial aid, the GI Bill and more. Tuition assistance has changed, but the mission to educate Marines and Sailors remains the same.
ALNAV 014/13 outlines the changes to affect Navy operations such as delays placed on naval deployments and early returns of ships, but also touches closer to home for Marines with reduced advertising contracts and the freeze placed on tuition assistance.
"We need to remain positive and encouraging," said Melora J. McVicker, Education Services Officer at the Lifelong Learning Center. "There are other failsafes built into the system that will allow people to continue their education."
According to McVicker, it is important for Marines not to lose perspective and be open to alternate routes to their goals. Tuition assistance was not the only road to education, and many programs remain available for use, potentially in conjunction with one another.
Financial aid, which was compatible with tuition assistance, remains untouched by the sequestration.
Those interested in information about or applying for financial aid should visit www.fasfa.ed.gov.
Every Marine is eligible for one of two GI Bills. Depending on time in service and overall education goals,, using one over the other may be preferred.
Individuals interested in information about or applying for either the Montgomery GI Bill or Post 9/11 GI Bill can visit www.gibill.va.gov.
Grants, scholarships and other financial aid are other options available for pursing higher education. Whether private scholarships or government funded, they remain a considerable boost toward education goals. More information about this aid can be found at www.ed.gov/sg.
"Marines are worried they won't be able to finish their degrees, but they have the "Three Ds" any successful student is going to need," McVicker said. "They have dedication, determination and discipline. That's what's going to get them through."