College grant money dwindling at Indiana Army National Guard
College grant money is drying up at the Indiana Army National Guard. Students enrolled in ROTC programs across the state are being warned that funds they relied upon this semester may no longer be available.
13 Investigates shows you why tuition for "on the job training" is tougher to come by in Indiana.
Allen Sewell lived the best of two worlds, as a college student at IUPUI and as an ROTC cadet.
While training at Indiana military installations, up to 100 percent of his college tuition was paid for by a National Guard Supplemental Grant from the State of Indiana.
"It really helped me pay for school," said Sewell.
13 Investigates has learned ROTC candidates following in Sewell's footsteps, in the Simultaneous Membership Programs statewide, could "no longer be eligible" for the supplemental grant next semester. Their applications are being denied.
A spokesman at the Indiana National Guard tells 13 Investigates there is a shortage of funds.
In fact, based on historical data, if the National Guard paid out next spring what it has been paying, the fund would see a $2.1 million deficit.
Sewell, now a commissioned 2nd lieutenant on active duty, understands where he would be without the benefits of the grant.
"I would be getting out of college with a large amount of debt, and those perks really help students," he said.
Lt. Col Lonny MacDonald oversees the ROTC programs at six Indiana Schools including IUPUI, Butler, Marian, Franklin, the University of Indianapolis and IU Kokomo.
Of the 170 students enrolled, 85 percent are in the SMP program and could be impacted.
"They're learning how to be a leader and officer here at ROTC, and they're going to an Indiana Army National Guard and Army Reserve to apply what we're learning," explained Lt. Col MacDonald.
That part of the deal won't change, just how students pay for it.
The Indiana National Guard says students receiving denial letters should apply for Federal Tuition Assistance.
There are new rules for that fund as well: Semester hours are capped at 16 per year, and members must must complete basic and advanced individual training and wait a year for eligibility.