Sunday, March 28, 2010

Abrupt end of college tuition help angers military spouses

McClachy reports:
With her husband deployed in Iraq with a Stryker brigade from Washington state's Joint Base Lewis-McChord, 20-year-old Lauren Silva isn't your typical college student. But when it comes to finding money for tuition, books and other expenses, she's not so different.

Silva has scrambled to apply for scholarships and loans to pay for classes at the University of Washington-Tacoma, where she's a junior studying social work. She thought part of her financial problems were solved when she learned of a Defense Department program that pays military spouses $6,000 to help them with their education. Yet just as Silva prepared to apply earlier this year, the military abruptly shut the program down.

The Pentagon was overwhelmed by the number of applicants, which had grown from an average of about 10,000 a month to 70,000 in January alone as the nation's economy continued to sputter. Money for the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts program, known as MyCAA, was rapidly running out. Rather than ask Congress for more cash, Pentagon officials decided to close the program to new applicants and stop payments to those who were already enrolled.

"This was probably, in my view, a mistake," Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Senate Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee last week, adding that while he expected the program to resume, it eventually could end up costing $1 billion to $2 billion.

Do you want the government to "abruptly" end your health care program in the future? Is this how to run things?