Making Strides to Ensure a Quality Education
Military Tuition Assistance, DANTES Education Programs, and the Post 9/11 GI Bill are all programs that are funded by federal dollars to ensure that service members and veterans have access to education opportunities while they are volunteering to serve our country. Because of these programs 48,704 college degrees were obtained by military members in fiscal year 2012. However, there is a debate that some predatory academic institutions are preying on military and veteran education funding programs while providing little in return. Some have accused these institutions of having high failure and loan default rates, while providing those who manage to graduate with a degree that will not be respected among employers. To ensure that quality education experiences are afforded to military members and veterans, the following initiatives have been instituted:
1. Executive Order 13607, "Establishing Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service Members, Veterans, Spouses, and Other Family Members was signed by President Obama. This executive order outlined several protections for the military community by establishing best practice guidelines for academic institutions to follow.
2. The Department of Defense Voluntary Education Memorandum of Understanding was established. All academic institutions receiving military tuition assistance dollars are required to have a signed MOU, agreeing to military friendly principles.
3. Military and veteran students will soon be able to log complaints they have with their academic institutions through the new voluntary education concerns system that is currently under development. The Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Education, Justice, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have been working together to develop a system that allows military and veteran students to report and gain assistance in the resolution of problems they may be facing at their school.
4. The Third Party Assessment program was established to assess the quality of post-secondary educational programs and services used by service members and to assist in the improvement of these education programs and services. These periodic assessments ensure that the education programs provided to service members funded by the tuition assistance program are of the same high quality and meet the same academic criteria of quality higher education.
Academic Institutions have been proactive in responding to the needs and the protection of service members as well. One example is the "Best Practices for Military and Veteran Students" report assembled by the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities. A taskforce developed a detailed report and proposed guidelines for schools that encourages all colleges and universities to strive for providing quality education experiences for the military and veteran communities.
While some are fighting to preserve military education funding, such as the U.S. House of Representatives approving a bill that would protect future military tuition assistance funding, DoD is working hard to ensure that those dollars are well spent and truly are a benefit for service members.
Source: DANTES Pulse Blog