Brown Intervenes on Behalf of Ohio Soldier After Iraq Relocation Threatens His Academic Standing, Army Wages

Staff Sergeant Howard Hill of Akron, Completing His Degree in Sociology Online, Was Given a Failing Grade After Relocation in Iraq Left Him Without Internet Access

Without Brown’s Intervention, Soldier’s Wages Would Have Been Garnished and His Tuition Assistance Suspended

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Thanks to assistance from the office of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Staff Sergeant Howard Hill of Akron will be able to continue serving his country in Iraq and completing his bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Hill, a distance learning student at Saint Leo University, has been stationed in Iraq since March 2010. In August, he was relocated to a remote section of Iraq without access to Internet. Despite his request to receive an “incomplete” for the course—which would have permitted him to resume the class once he returned to his original duty station in October—he received a failing grade. Not only was Hill’s GPA affected, but the U.S. Army threatened to suspend his tuition assistance.

“We should aim to support the members of our military in every way possible. In the case of Staff Sergeant Hill, common sense prevailed and we were able to ensure that he can continue serving his country while completing his college degree,” Brown said. “My staff and I have made it a priority to assist Ohioans in any way possible—from assistance with the Social Security Administration, Medicare, or the VA to medal requests for Ohio veterans, and I encourage my constituents to contact my office with any requests.”

As a result of an intervention by Sen. Brown—a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs—and members of his staff, Hill’s grade was changed to “incomplete” and he will be permitted to retake the course at no cost upon returning to his original duty station.

In the State of Ohio, Revised Code 1713.60 requires colleges and universities to provide educational military leave of absence for students called to active duty who request it, and schools must restore the student to previous status upon return.

Ohioans seeking casework assistance can call Brown’s Cleveland office at 1-888-896-OHIO or visit the “Constitutent Services” section of his website at brown.senate.gov/ohio/constituentservices.

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