The Oregon Military Department says soldiers can resume using a tuition assistance program for Oregon Guard members and other servicemen. The program was frozen because of budget sequestration.

Senator Ron Wyden sponsored an amendment for a spending bill that reinstated the program. It provides up to $4,500 per year to qualifying service members.

Major John Qualls is the executive officer for the 3rd Battalion, 116th Brigade, which has soldiers from Hermiston, Ontario, and LaGrande.

Qualls says while college isn't for every soldier, the importance of the tuition benefit in recruiting can't be overestimated.

"Especially for the younger kids going from high school to college, that's a very large bill. Unfortunately the debt that is incurred with going to school nowadays has increased. Whether it be Eastern Oregon University in LaGrande or some of the Idaho schools. They stay in our region. We track them and try to take care of them."

Soldiers will not be able to apply for aid for classes that began before April 10th, but they can begin putting paperwork through for classes after that date.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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