Tuition Assistance Gets A Check Up
Story by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Niegel, Defense Media Activity
Even with the budget in a state of fluctuation, the suspension of tuition assistance was a shock to many service members. As an active-duty sailor, I was planning on using this benefit and knew many colleagues who hoped to as well; we were blown away when we heard the news. Luckily, after a short period of time, the popular program was restored with a few changes.
Defense Department officials were concerned that service members were vulnerable to educational institutions that didn't have their best interests at heart. To address this they required that the DoD's Tuition Assistance Memorandum of Understanding be updated to include more protections for service members using this benefit.
Defense Department Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management Frederick E. Vollrath recently explained that the DoD's Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was developed to help end fraudulent recruitment on military installations and it requires service member students to have access to a tool that compares educational institutions using key measures of affordability and value through the Veterans Affairs Department's E-benefits portal.
A recent American Forces Press Service story outlined the MOU's new additions and revisions. They are as follows:
- "Prior to enrollment, schools must disclose all policies regarding admissions, transfer of credit and residency requirements, as well as costs such as tuition, fees and other charges to the service member;
- "Prior to enrollment, schools must provide service members access to a financial aid advisor who will provide a clear and complete explanation of available financial aid, including Title IV, and appropriate loan counseling before offering, recommending, or singing up a student for a school loan; and
- "Schools must have a policy that bans aggressive marketing and inducements, and must refrain from aggressively marketing to military students or use inducements to encourage military students to enroll in their school."
Once in effect, only schools that have signed the MOU with the department will be able to receive tuition assistance.
If you would like more information on how you can receive tuition assistance, please contact your local installation's education/college office to find out how you can apply through your service.