National Guard tuition assistance program running out of cash

11/12/2015 05:37 PM

LOUISVILLE – The Kentucky Air National Guard tuition assistance program, which offers 100 percent tuition assistance to any Kentucky state-sponsored school, for any National Guard member, is running out of money.

Nearly $5 million is allotted annually from the state’s general fund to pay for the program which is used to recruit candidates into the guard. However, this year, it’s projected that all of the money will be spent for fiscal year 2016.

Major General Edward Tonini, The Adjutant General of the Kentucky National Guard, told members of the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee on Thursday that the reason for shortfall is because so many members have come back from deployment at the same time, and are using the benefit to further their education, putting a strain on the funds available.

“The numbers have not increased as the cost of tuition has increased, and frankly, our gross numbers have gone up,” Tonini said. “We got people who are home now, and it’s putting pressure on that.

$5.5 million was spent in fiscal year 2015, but some of that was money was carried over from the previous year.

Tonini suggested to lawmakers that a solution will be to put a lifetime cap on how much money can be spent per person.

“What we found is that some of our people will take advantage of the fact that there is no cap on it,” Tonini said. “So, we want to have a lifetime cap on what we might call an abuse, people who keep going back to school, and back to school, without intent of having a degree out of it.

Tonini did not provide any specifics to Pure Politics as to what the cap might be.


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