On Tuesday Offutt Air Force Base airmen were among those who learned that tuition assistance will be suspended starting in April for military members and that civilian furloughs are looming.
The message addressed to the base by Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, James Cody, read in part, "Unfortunately we'll likely be forced to furlough nearly 180,000 civilian Airmen for 16 hours per pay period for the remainder of the fiscal year starting in April."
"We remain as committed as ever to ensuring Airmen have the opportunity and means to pursue educational goals. We're still looking at the impacts for FY14 and will do our best to have TA reinstated, although we'll likely need to review the eligibility requirements to ensure sustainability," stated Cody.
Cody admitted that the suspension of tuition assistance "makes things tougher" for those seeking education, but added that the GI Bill, scholarships and federal grants were some other options.
On Tuesday afternoon, Offutt issued a statement that reads, "Great emphasis is placed on professional development and education for our military members and the tuition assistance program is one resource that helps our Offutt Air Force Base personnel reach their educational goals."
"Last year alone more than 1,600 military members used the program. We understand that difficult decisions are being made everywhere in regards to the budget cuts and we'll continue to support our Airmen’s efforts to pursue education in every way we can."