Palmesano: We Made A Commitment To Our Troops

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) has joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in support of the Commitment to Military Education Act, a bill that Palmesano is co-sponsoring. The bill calls for SUNY and CUNY schools to reduce tuition costs for active duty and reservist members of the military whose tuition assistance has been cut due to the federal government sequester.

“We all are aware of the great sacrifices our men and women in the military make to ensure our freedom,” said Palmesano. “As a nation, we made a commitment to those who protect our freedom that we would give them the opportunity to earn a quality education in return for service. We are in difficult economic times, but the idea of turning our backs on the people who willingly risk their lives to make ours easier isn’t right. Should we fail to fulfill this undertaking, it would not only be a disservice to these troops, but to our society.”

The Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard all have announced that they will be suspending tuition assistance programs for active duty and reserve servicemen and women. The cuts come as part of the sequester-mandated reductions. The suspension means that troops currently enrolled in college classes and pursuing degrees will not have the funding to complete future years of their programs. The tuition assistance program is a benefit that is often touted by recruiters.

The proposal would cover active duty and reserve personnel who are currently enrolled in SUNY or CUNY schools and using the military tuition assistance program. The state would provide tuition reductions that would match the missing tuition assistance. The tuition reductions would continue until the military reinstates the tuition assistance or the student graduates.