MOUNT OLIVE – One week after the U.S. military announced that it will no longer be accepting tuition assistance applications from soldiers, there is still a great deal of uncertainty and questions being asked. Mount Olive College President Philip P. Kerstetter said, “There has been a great deal of discussion in the press recently about the status of the Tuition Assistance (TA) program offered throughout the various armed forces. Unfortunately, there has not been much information about it, and students and institutions are working to determine the specifics of each branch of the military. Additionally, there are several members of Congress working to restore the TA program. However, students still have to make plans.”
In helping students make plans for the future, Kerstetter said, “Mount Olive College is committed to the education of all of our students. During this period of uncertainty, it is our intention to work with our students who have participated in the TA program. We encourage all of them to be in contact with their financial aid counselors at Mount Olive College to determine eligibility for assistance from alternative sources.”
Of Mount Olive College’s seven locations in eastern North Carolina, three are located near military bases. Mount Olive College at Goldsboro is housed on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (SJAFB). MOC at Jacksonville is near Camp Lejeune and MOC at New Bern is near Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. The total number of MOC students currently receiving TA at these locations is approximately 370.
Dr. Opey Jeanes, vice president for special services at the College’s Goldsboro location, and the MOC location most affected by the cuts, said, “Mount Olive College is still assessing the effects of the suspension of the military tuition assistance program.” According to Jeanes, about 70% of the College’s enrollment at SJAFB is active duty TA students. “Cuts of TA will have a negative impact on our ability to continue to serve and educate our military-affiliated students. However, we are making every effort to help students explore other financial aid options, including helping them apply for FASFA.”
For those students graduating from Mount Olive College in August who are most immediately affected by the TA cutbacks, President Kerstetter said, “Mount Olive College will work with them to make sure that they will graduate on time.”
Mount Olive College is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The college, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville. For more information, visit www.moc.edu.