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December 14, 2012

Armywide News

Department of Defense clarifies post-secondary education expectations

By Amaani Lyle, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Defense (DoD) has issued new policy guidelines intended to provide better protection for members of the military and veterans who seek tuition assistance for post-secondary degrees.

The department’s revised voluntary education partnership policy specifies the expectations and agreements that colleges, universities and technical schools must adhere to in order to receive DoD underwriting, said Carolyn Baker, chief of voluntary education for DoD’s military community family and policy office.

The guidelines, part of a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) “ensure certain protections for military members (so) that they have a quality education,” she added.

Tuition assistance is a benefit available to Guardsmen, reservists, active-duty members and veterans seeking a degree from a Department of Education-accredited college or university. To receive it, participating institutions must sign the MOU, and provide the student with clear information about financial procedures, course information and graduation rates.

“(The MOU) protects servicemembers in providing them with information so a servicemember can make a wise choice as to the institution (they attend),” Baker said. “We ask that all institutions provide servicemembers with an education plan that states (course requirements) and evaluates credits earned at other schools (so) servicemembers can move forward and actually obtain their degree.”

The new guidelines clarify oversight, enforcement, and accountability for educational institutions receiving military tuition assistance, Baker said. Currently about 2,000 institutions participate in the tuition assistance program and Baker said she encourages more to do the same.

The overall initiative supports the executive order establishing the President’s “Principles of Excellence,” Baker said. Those were issued in response to reports of aggressive and deceptive targeting of servicemembers, veterans, and their Families by some educational institutions after the Post-9/11 GI Bill became law.

The guidelines pertain only to institutions accepting Title 4 funding, Baker said.

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