KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The latest group to feel the effects of the sequester -- Active duty service members. The Army and Marines announced last week they will no longer accept applications for 'tuition assistance'. The Air Force made the same announcement Monday.
However, one local university says no one fighting for our country should be denied an education.
Park University in Parkville, Mo., says it will give scholarships to any Park University or any other University active duty service member who has already lost or will not be eligible for tuition assistance. Those currently enrolled in courses approved for tuition assistance are not affected by the suspension of the program and are allowed to complete current course enrollments.
Park University says it's the only university in the country offering emergency military scholarships that it knows of -- money that will potentially go to thousands of students.
"About 98 percent of people when they join the military -- they speak of education benefits as being one of the top reasons so now the military has asked you to stay in school and continue your education but they're not going to fund it," said Stephen Terry with Park University's Military and Veterans Students Services Program.
Park University says it got word last week that due to sequester related department of defense cuts tuition assistance has been cut 100 percent for all active duty Army, Marines, and Air Force members.
"It was like getting punched in the stomach it really was," said veteran and Park University employee Royce Skocny, a feeling shared by veteran and Park University employee Ashley Beets. They say tuition assistance funding is money service members count on for life -- after service.
"It was very sad to me because in my mind the first thing to go shouldn't be educating our military members, especially after all they do for the country," said Beets.
The University says it will give any qualified active duty military personnel scholarships to ensure all who want an education can get one.
"We currently have about 8,200 students that are in the active duty military that are utilizing tuition assistance so we're talking about a monumental number of students that we're able to effect and to help them stay in their educational programs," said Terry.
Park University said it will also waive the application fee and offer scholarships to active duty service members planning or wanting to attend the University.
For more information and to find out how to qualify for the scholarship, contact the University's Office of Student Financial Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 816-584-6290. You can also visit www.park.edu/finaid.