TODAY   |  March 09, 2013

Army suspends tuition assistance for troops

The Army announced that it is suspending its tuition assistance program for newly-enrolled soldiers due to budget restrictions. However, the entire program could be reinstated if the budget cuts, known as the sequester, are suspended. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports.

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>>> despite that, good news about the economy, we're seeing fallout from the automatic government spending cuts known as the sequester. this morning it's army soldiers feeling the pinch. our pentagon reporter has more. jim, good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, carl. there is no question that tuition assistance is one of the most popular benefits for g.i.s, because of sequestration, the army has decided to suspend it. it provides up to $4,500 per year if tuition payments. $200,000 soldiers are currently collecting on the benefit at a cost of nearly $400 million per year. this past week, the marines announced that they, too, are suspending their tuition assistance . the army stresses, however, that this in no way will affect any soldier currently collected on the benefit. and that the entire program could be easily reinstated if sequestration itself is suspended. at the same time, the soldiers do have other places to turn. they do get some tuition help, for instance, from their g.i. benefits. but for the army and these soldiers, this is a classic case of catch 22. tuition assistance was created as an incentive to get soldiers to re-enlist. but with all these budget cuts, the army can't afford to keep them. carl?

>> nbc's jim miklaszewski . thanks.