Senators Tell DoD to Delay Education MOU — UPDATE

December 13, 2011 | Terry Howell

UPDATE: On December 15, 2011, the DoD responded to the Senate’s request to delay the MOU. The letter, signed by Dr. Jo Ann Rooney (Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness ), states that due to Congress’ concerns the DoD would postpone the MOU deadline until March 30, 2012 (90-days).

The DoD has also posted the following on their MOU website:

DoD is providing a 90-day extension for institutions to sign the DoD MOU, from January 1, 2012 to March 30, 2012.  Only the implementation date of the policy has changed to March 30, 2012. All signed MOUs are in effect and institutions that have signed or are in the process of signing the DoD MOU neither have to re-sign nor make changes to their applications.

Original Post:

According an article posted on the American Council on Education website, 52 senators reached out to the Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, requesting a delay in the implementation of the Department of Defense’s Memorandum of Understanding for schools that wish to participate in the Military Tuition Assistance program. Schools are required to sign the agreement by Jan. 1, 2012 in order to maintain their eligibility to participate.

The intent of the MOU is to ensure military students receive a quality education and elimnate opportunities for fraud and abuse. As reported here last week  (see School’s Hesitant to Sign DoD’s MOU), many schools are considering no longer accepting tuition assistance due to what they consider a heavy handed set of policies and regulations mandating how they provide education to military students. At the heart of the issue for many schools is what they see as an infringement on their academic authority.

ACE wrote that the MOU requirements are inconsistent with well established academic policies and administrative practices. Among the conflicting issues are the MOU provisions for awarding academic credit for military experience (as recommended by ACE), in-school residency requirements, and tuition payment processing.

The effort to fight fraud and abuse is overdue and needed to help eliminate the impact of the, shall we say, less than stellar schools. However, many agree that the MOU needs some rework before requiring institutions to sign on.

The DoD indicated a willingness to work with the higher education community to make improvements to the MOU. However, the DoD has said nothing about delaying implementation.

It will be interesting to see if the latest pressure applied by the Senate will have an impact… I am willing to bet it will.

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. Another way of saying well-established is old fashion and out of date. One does not achieve progress by sitting still and sticking to the old. New wine in a new bottle.

  2. The less than stellar schools are on board with the MOU, although many major public schools (which are cheaper) are not signing. The letter from the Senators mentions this fact. It needs to be delayed. The Senate letter asked DOD to reply by 12/16. We'll see. I'm betting with you, Terry; I suspect it will be pushed back now.

  3. The MOU is delayed for three months, schools will submit the issues to DOD in an effort to have the agreement amended, while still protecting service members from fraud.