The Defense Department has finally released the highly anticipated ‘Memorandum of Understanding.’ Any schools wishing to continue to receive military tuition assistance funds must agree to and adhere to the stipulations in the MOU. Schools that decline to participate will no longer be eligible to enroll military students who plan to use DoD TA funds.
Although new requirements will limit servicemembers access to some schools, this is a strong move by the DoD that will help ensure all servicemembers get a quality education and the federal government gets the most from their investment.
The MOU is very lengthy and full of legalese, but, there are a few issues that will directly impact the military student that are worth highlighting:
- The MOU does not limit the way college courses can be delivered – classroom, online, correspondence, etc.
- The new policy will require all participating schools to recognize, accept and award educational credit (as appropriate) from all official military transcripts – Army/ACE Registry Transcript System, the Sailor/Marine ACE Registry Transcript System, the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF), and the Coast Guard Institute.
- Schools will be required to adhere to the Military Student Bill of Rights, which clearly defines how a school is required to treat prospective military students.
- Institutions will be required to develop a degree plan for each military student. The institution may not change the degree plan once it is accepted by the student.
Gary Woods, the former Chief of DOD Voluntary Education, has written a very detailed article explaining the the new MOU. Read his full article: 'The New DoD MOU: Background and Impact on Institutions and Students.'
The new policies and MOU will go into effect on January 1, 2012. Read the full DoD Voluntary Education Program Instruction 1322.25.