Military Spouses Feel Slapped in the Face

By Eric S. Page
|  Thursday, Feb 25, 2010  |  Updated 12:01 PM PDT
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Military Spouses Feel Slapped in the Face

AP

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Military spouses across the U.S. are in an uproar over the abrupt suspension of a popular grant program that paid for college courses and career training.

      The Defense Department last week halted the program, which offered military spouses $6,000 grants for college tuition or professional licenses and certificates. The program debuted a year ago.
     
Rebecca Duncan, a Navy wife in Corpus Christi, Texas, says she felt "slapped in the face." She was approved for a grant to pursue an applied sciences degree, but the program shut down before she could enroll in classes.
     
The grants were stopped because thousands of applicants overwhelmed the program's budget, according to the military. About 98,000 spouses were enrolled before grants were suspended.
     
The Defense Department said the halt is temporary but hasn't said when it will resume.

“For those of you who have currently approved financial account documents, your documents will be honored,” said Tommy T. Thomas, deputy undersecretary of defense for the Pentagon’s office of military community and family policy. “We encourage those spouses who were in the process of developing their career plans to continue to do so.”

On Wednesday, the head of the program assured participants with approved financial assistance that their enrollment would be unaffected.

"For those of you who have currently approved financial account documents, your documents will be honored," said Tommy T. Thomas, deputy undersecretary of defense for the Pentagon’s office of military community and family policy. "We encourage those spouses who were in the process of developing their career plans to continue to do so."

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