Servicemembers get tuition break

American Legion National Commander Daniel Dellinger is praising a handful of schools who are suspending tuition fees for active-duty servicemember students supported by Department of Defense’s Military Tuition Assistance (TA) while the current government shutdown continues.

"The generosity of these institutions of higher learning is commendable and wise," Dellinger said. "Obviously, these schools’ administrators understand and appreciate the sacrifices already being made by our servicemembers and their families. To compound those difficulties by introducing the financial strain of unpaid tuition, or by threatening the continuation of their Military Tuition Assistance-supported students’ academic studies, would be unfortunate, indeed. I am heartened by the actions of the schools who are obviously cognizant of the quality of these students and the promise of their post graduation contributions to our nation."

Northeastern University in Boston, Columbia College in Columbia, Mo., and National University in San Diego are among the schools announcing tuition payment suspensions for military students.

This past weekend, Northeastern University assured the more than 100 active-duty men and women currently enrolled as students there that the university would provide whatever financial assistance was needed to prevent a disruption in their education. University President Joseph E. Aoun reportedly wrote a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel urging a reversal of DoD’s decision to halt the processing of TA program applications in light of the government shutdown.

In announcing Columbia College’s military-friendly tuition policy, Mike Lederle – assistant dean for military and federal programs – said, "This is an opportunity to create some consistency and stability for our military students. We value the contributions of our servicemember students, and we want to continue to help them during this time of uncertainty."

Similarly, National University President Dr. Michael Cunningham said, "We are not going to allow a government shutdown to adversely impact the academic pursuits of our active-duty military students. Our nation has a shortage of citizens with four-year and advanced degrees. To maintain our position in the global economy we must continue to ensure those who want to pursue a degree have the opportunity to do so – especially those who have served our country so honorably."