EAU CLAIRE, Wisconsin (WQOW) - The list of programs and people affected by the automatic federal spending cuts continues to lengthen. Tuition assistance from all but one branch of the military will no longer be available to college-bound veterans.
"I've been in the Wisconsin Army National Guard since 2006," says, Clif Sorenson, a Veterans Service Officer .
But now some of the benefits earned through that service are on the chopping block.
John Bensend from Veterans Services at UW-Stout says, "This, to me, is one of the unintended consequences of this sequestration"
Tuition assistance used to pay $250 per semester hour for active and reserve soldiers with a maximum of $4,500 a year.
CLIF: "It was important in the budgeting process for myself and trying to figure out how much my expenditures are going to be and then plan for future semesters as well."
Student soldiers will have to redraft those plans for upcoming semesters.
CLIF: "So now all of the sudden they're trying to scramble or figure out a new way that they're going to pay for college."
JOHN: "Those who can't find alternatives, they'll have to stop their education."
Fortunately in Wisconsin alternatives are available.
CLIF: "Each of these different programs has a different eligibility criteria that says, 'If you did this you're eligible, or you're only eligible for this much.' It can be confusing and quite a bit to navigate through."
Veterans Services helps you find your bearings and secure benefits.
JOHN: "Especially now where jobs are not plentiful. Where you're investing in yourself for the future. So it's important that you invest in education."
For some qualifying veterans this investment doesn't even cost dollars and cents.
JOHN "The state of Wisconsin does have free tuition at the UW System and the technical colleges. For veterans."
So they can continue their careers both in uniform and in the classroom.
The Navy is the only branch still offering tuition assistance at this time, but is reviewing whether to cut back. It is important to note: Federal GI Bills and state programs for veterans education are still available.
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