Veteran students feel sequester's pinch

Author: Ian Cull, KXLY4 Multimedia Journalist, ianc@kxly.com
Published On: Mar 14 2013 06:46:23 PM PDT   Updated On: Mar 14 2013 06:47:22 PM PDT
CHENEY, Wash. -

Veterans are the latest group to see cuts from the sequester: Tuition assistance for those students up to $4,500, will be dropped.

There are 500 veteran students at Eastern Washington University and about 30 who will be affected by a tuition assistance cut.

Mauricio Zumba is studying psychology not only because it's interesting, but because it applies to his career.

"When I was in Iraq, we had an incident, a Camp Liberty shooting where a friend passed away and it was at a combat stress clinic," he said.

Sgt. Zumba is a senior at Eastern and is in the Army Reserves. He's received $4,500 a year for school after serving deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Next year he won't.

"It's a slap in the face ... you put your time through, you did what you had to do and you come back and trying to grow yourself," he said.

Zumba is one of about 200,000 veterans across the country receiving the assistance. The programs cost the federal government around $373 million a year.

"Some students counted on those funds being available to them," Lane Anderson said.

Anderson is the Program Support Supervisor at EWU's Veterans Resource Center. He said veteran students can visit the center to find scholarships, grants, and help.

"It was one of the backings on why the university came up with the Veteran Resource Center, to assist veterans in cases where this happens," Anderson said.

Zumba says he'll keep fighting to help others, when their done fighting.

"So they have somebody they can see and talk about their problems who's been there and done that," he said.

The Army, Air Force, and Marines have all announced the tuition assistance cut. The Navy and Coast Guard have not.