DoD Offers No Changes in MOU

December 21, 2011 | Terry Howell

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.

MOU Background

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.

About Terry Howell

Before becoming the Managing Editor for Military.com, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.

Comments

  1. It is interesting we are talking about MOU with DOD but yet no body is talking about the change made by the VA GI Bill. A change happened on 12-21-11 that will stop any tuition and fee payments to schools if a veteran has an overpayment. Best part, it appears noone informed the VA employee fielding the phone calls or the general public.

  2. Federal programs expand their influence into everyday lives through the addiction to federal funding. We continue to trade our individual freedom in order to get a fix of our own taxes dollars. Just say, "No".

  3. Army One, where did you read this and/or do you have a reference to cite?

    Regarding the MOU, members of ACE and NACUBO are updating a document they prepared last summer, I suspect if DOD is not willing to consider amendments then Senators will again be involved. The Illinois university system is active in the work group. Other schools are working in groups apart from the NACUBO/ACE group in a hope their concerns are heard.

    The irony of this is that the schools the MOU is crafted to control, the high cost for-profits with questionable tactics, have all signed. The more selective public schools are the ones pushing back, many due to what they see as DOD interfering with their policies. The DOD students who are in the middle of degree programs at these schools are the ones who be hurt if a compromise is not reached.

  4. Every(?) school accepting veterans with Chapter 33 benefits already does this. In 2005, when I used Tuition Assistance, I had to get an approval similar to what this requires. It seems like this is already in place for the most part.

    So, how many schools accept TA users but don't have any veterans on Chapter 33? Something doesn't add up, or I'm not understanding the problem.

  5. *protect service members from predatory schools

  6. The real plan is to force all SUCKERED TROOPS–TO USE THEIR GI BILL..WATCH IT HAPPEN..THEY WILL HAVE NO CHOICE..AFTER IRAN THAT IS..

  7. If they do not want to sign the MOU's, they can say goodbye. These school are only out there to get rich, if it wasn't for the then and now troops we would have these unfair colleges and university opposing such a MOU's. Also, this country is currently in a debt problem, so therefore i believed the DOD have all rights to cut back while continue to provide good services. I call on the DOD to not change there MOU's. Thank you.

    • The schools who haven't signed have small service member populations and are not making any profit from TA. If they say goodbye, and they will, the folks in their program will need to go elsewhere to complete their degree, sometimes to more expensive online programs. The Soldiers get hurt in your scenario, not the schools.

    • That correct Alex. All these "for profit" schools care about is the military members' money since their budgets are being slashed to cover their pensions. Where were these schools when their budgets were healthy – backing up the military or speaking against them? I say the latter.
      It's all about the money, just look at their track record with the military.

  8. I am a retired Army officer and work as an ROTC instructor at a public university, I saw the traffic from DoD on this MoU. The issue a lot of schools have with it, I think, is that it 1) interferes with their right to decide how to evaluate and accept coursework done outside their institution (the MoU requires the university to accept credits for military schools based on the military's evaluation of what credit should be given); and 2) it imposes a lot of additional reporting, administrative, and support burdens on the universities (such as guaranteeing access to educational materials at on-post libraries). I'm not surprised the universities don't want to swallow it whole.

    • I'm with a public institution also. You've touched on a couple issues, different schools have different snags based on institutional policies. This crosses multiple offices at each school, the business office, registrar, IRR, admissions and others. Getting everyone in those offices to agree to anything is often a task, when DOD wants to dictate policy, it's even more difficult.

    • Sir with all due respect, it appears to me that, you have not read the DoD MOU or its clarifications. The DoD MOU does not require an institution to take any credit in transfer unless it meets that institution's own criteria and policy for acceptability in transfer into their programs. The institution will already have an established policy for acceptance of credit from other institutions and ACE recommended credit. The DoD MOU does not require the institution to change that policy. Most post or base libraries have computer labs or at least computer access to the internet, and if the educational institution has given the student access to their libraries, they most likely can access it from the post or base library. It will add some additional reporting, administrative, and support burdens, but if the institution is committed to offering educational opportunities to military personnel, they should consider that in their cost of doing business and work with DoD on an acceptable fee to absorb the cost. The DoD has emphasized their willingness to work with the educational institutions in any way they can to assist them with compliance.

      • Ray, you write as if you have some skin in this matter. The memo asks schools to agree to unprecedented oversight and intrusion. Over 70% of the public universities aren't signing and none of the elite private universities are signing…. that is proof enough that the MOU isn't an "agreeable" document. My school wants to serve Soldiers, but they're not going to give up a shred of autonomy or devise elaborate new processes to accomodate the handful of Soldiers that use FTA at UVa. The real shame here is tthat the thousands of Soldiers using FTA at non-signing schools stand to lose the most.

  9. "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."

    I don't see what is so hard about this. This is very basic information and services that schools should provide. If not, then someone should look at their credibility. A school that can't provide this sounds like a degree mill or scam.

  10. Understand DOD's concern is to protect individual Vet and require some basic course administration. Most schools are profit making institutions and want Federal funds without meeting any requirements (claim infringement on their freedom you know). What is missing fromthe debate is that VA "benefits" are part of Vet's compensation that are his to spend as he sees fit. After years overseas, Vet may well choose smaller college to be close to home. DOD/VA should respect Vet's judgment on such issues when deciding how to spend HIS own benefits.

  11. Sterling White says:

    I Am A 100% Disable Veteran. I Can"t Drive. Have A Moterize Electric Wheel Chair. That"s Why I Haven"t Sign Up For School' Does The VA Take This Into Mind When They Make These Division? Thanks, Sterling White.