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Last Subsidized, First Cherished

In the private sector, the rule of thumb in economic downturns is, “Last hired, first fired.” Get government involved and that principle gets turned on its head.

Thus, during the current government shutdown, most of what the government subsidizes in education goes unmolested, whatever its value, while military service academies are “going under the knife,” as the Greatest Generation describes radical surgery.

“The Defense Department said last week that it would not grant tuition assistance for classes starting on or after October 1 until Congress passed a spending bill for the Pentagon,” Kelly Field reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education on October 11, 2013. “Thousands of students who were scheduled to start class last week are being advised to withdraw or find other ways to pay for their programs, such as with GI Bill money.”

“The Department of Veterans Affairs has said it would continue to process claims and payments of education benefits, until existing funds are exhausted, probably in late October.”

Meanwhile, Field reports:

Ironically, the one possible silver lining actually comes from the furloughing of civilian employees. As I wrote [1] a year ago, “Academics have always had a hard time accepting the service academies even when they work for them.”

Indeed, AIA has covered a trio of such civilian “mavericks” in the service academies:


Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia [6].

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org [7].