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Government shutdown affects education funding programs

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If you are a student using tuition assistance or veteran benefits, the government shutdown will affect you.        

The impact on these federally funded programs varies for students. Tuition assistance for classes that start today or after Oct. 1, have been suspended.

Those who use veterans' benefits have more time. They won't know until spring semester, since the VA has already paid in full for the fall semester.

Either way, these students wake up worried every single day.

Richard Balogun is a soldier, a husband, a father, and a Central Texas college student. He is finishing up a motor vehicle class and hopes one day to be an engineer.

The federally funded tuition assistance program pays for his education, but starting today and everyday after October 1st, requests for classes will be denied.

This hurts Richard's progress because he planned to sign up for a new class in a few weeks.

"I feel it's a pity I can't continue my education because it will stop me on the middle of the bridge," said Balogun. "It's like I'm following a bridge and under that bridge and its breaking in the middle. That's me.  That's my destination. I've been looking to my destination but I can't get to there."

Skilled classes are the most impacted says CTC, because anyone can enroll at any time. Most classes have set start dates and have already begun and they will not be affected.

Starting October 1 soldiers who use TA will log onto Goarmyed to find rejected enrollments each morning until the government shutdown is lifted.

While TA students feel the impact today, those who use veteran benefits will be hurting come spring semester.

"It's going to end up having a domino effect," said Basilla Flores, certification coordinator at Mary Hardin-Baylor.

"Tuition assistance, if it doesn't get paid, it's going to come out of the pocket of the student.  On the veteran's side, come spring semester, I can bill for the student but we don't know when that money is going to come to the school," she said.

For a veteran and single mother of three, these benefits are everything.

"I am a single parent so if I was to completely lose all of this, I would have no way to pay the bills at all," said Cassandra Jenkins, a CTC student and veteran who served eight years in the military and spent over a year in Iraq.

Goarmyed warns soldiers that they might incur additional debt if they attend classes that are rejected as a result of the shutdown.

For more information continue checking Goarmyed's web site.

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