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Cuts coming to college funding for veterans

They've bravely served our country overseas and some have returned with life long injuries, but now some veterans who were promised help paying for college are being told that money won't be there anymore.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - They've bravely served our country overseas and some have returned with life long injuries, but now some veterans who were promised help paying for college are being told that money won't be there anymore.

The Tuition Assistance Program is paid for through federal funding.

Since lawmakers have failed to come to an agreement on defense funding, those who served in the Army, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard are being told that money will be cut off after this school year.

Almost two years ago, Will McKinney was on his second deployment, serving in Afghanistan. His job was to look for IED's ahead of his fellow soldiers.

"I stepped on an IED and it blew off my left leg then I wound up at Walter Reed Army Hospital doing recovery for a year,” McKinney said.

It was a long, tough road as McKinney adjusted and began to realize that he would no longer be able to stay in the military doing what he loved.

"I really just needed that reason to get out of the hospital. I just didn't want to be there,” he said.

That reason would be tuition assistance. Getting 100 percent of his college tuition paid for enabled him to think about life after the military and set his sights on a computer science degree.

Now he is on his way to doing that at Onondaga Community College. It's something McKinney says would not be possible without the Tuition Assistance Program.

The cuts are a broken promise that McKinney says is affecting many of his friends who were also wounded and are trying to recover.

“There's just a lot of guys that are in my same position six months ago that could use a reason to get out of the hospital to start going to school that aren't going to get that reason anymore,” he said.

The veterans’ coordinator at OCC says they're supporting several groups out there that are trying to get tuition assistance funding reinstated.

A petition of more than 100,000 people has reached the White House asking them to do the same. The administration has 30 days to respond.


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