DoD Extends MOU Deadline, But Offers no Changes.
For those who have been following the saga of the DoD’s Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding for institutions that wish to enroll military students and receive tuition assistance; the long delayed agreement has once again been pushed further down the road as the deadline has been pushed 90-days to March 30, 2012. But more time is not the fix many are hoping for.
The so called “MOU” will in many ways change the way schools do business with the DoD and impact how they interact with military students. Until this last week, all institutions providing high school completion and post secondary education programs through the DoD Tuition Assistance (TA) Program had until January 1, 2012 to agree to the new DoD MOU and have a signed copy on-file with DoD before any servicemembers would able receive TA approval to attend their institutions.
According to the Robert L. Gordon III, deputy assistant secretary for military, community and family policy, “the memorandum is designed to help ensure oversight in DOD-funded education, and ensure service members can make informed choices about their education.” Most schools agree with the MOU in concept and over 1,900 have already signed on, but not all.
Due to what many feel are overreaching and overly restrictive policies, several schools have pushed back to the DoD asking for some relief on certain requirements they feel are an infringement on their academic authority. In some cases the smaller schools do not have the infrastructure to meet the requirements, such as the requirement to provide timely course enrollment, withdrawal and cancellation information and grades, as well as an evaluated education plan outlining the courses needed for a degree.
Calling in the Big Guns
Earlier this month the Senate got involved in the process, sending a letter to the Defense Secretary Panetta asking him to delay the MOU and work on changing some of the requirements. The DoD responded in a letter, signed by Dr. Jo Ann Rooney (Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness ), in which she wrote that due to Congress’ concerns the DoD would postpone the MOU deadline until March 30, 2012 (90-days).
However, neither the letter, or any of the subsequent interviews with DoD officials have indicated an intent to rewrite the MOU; only a 90-day extension of the deadline to give schools more time to sign.
Someone seems to be missing the point, the 52 senators who signed the letter don’t want more time for schools to sign the agreement, they want the DoD to rewrite the agreement. Buying more time is clearly not the issue.
Read the full American Forces Press Service article.