Parkville, Mo. - Royce Skocny served in the Navy for five years. Now he runs Park University's Warrior Center. He helps fellow veterans transition from military to civilian life. Skocny has been busy lately with many military students losing their tuition assistance in sequester cuts.
"The biggest concern everyone has is how is this going to work? What can I do? It is a lot of, almost desperation. We have been fielding e-mails from guys that are so close to having their degree through the TA and now it has been cut," Skocny said.
The military announced it is suspending tuition assistance for service members for the rest of the 2013 fiscal year. This effects most branches of the military.
Ashley Carpenter is in the National Guard. She is among the 22,000 students who rely on tuition assistance.
"It was kind of unfortunate. I was not sure what I was going to do," she said.
About 98 percent of service men and women list education support as one of the top reasons they enlist in the military. So it will be interesting to see whether that number declines now that their benefits have been cut.
Here in Kansas City there is some hope. Park University created an Emergency Military Scholarship Fund. It provides tuition assistance immediately to students not eligible for GI Bill Benefits, Pell Grants or Federal loans. University leaders hope that eases some of the burden.
"It's a huge relief that Park stepped up to be able to do this because we are able to continue to keep those military members in their classes and that's so important when you think about the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who the reason they are going into the military is to get an education," said Stephen Terry, Director of Military & Veterans Student Services.
Skochny is glad he can offer some relief to hundreds of service men and women who have contacted him with concerns.
Park University is accepting donations so it can continue to provide assistance through its Emergency Military Scholarship Fund. For information visit for information visit http://www.park.edu/finaid/