New DOD Memorandum on Tuition Assistance

December 7, 2012

In April, the Department of Defense said it would issue a revised version of the memorandum of understanding that colleges and universities must sign to participate in military tuition assistance programs in order to address concerns from some in higher education. On Thursday, after months of delay, a draft of the new version of the memorandum was officially announced.

The memorandum, first proposed in March 2011, was intended to crack down on abuses and raise the standard for participating in the military tuition assistance programs. But some selective institutions of higher education protested requirements that they conform to the principles of Servicemember Opportunity Colleges, a voluntary association. That would have required more lenient residency and transfer of credit requirements (such as giving credit for military training) than some colleges wanted to accept, and the American Council on Education argued that it would interfere with colleges' right to set their own academic policies. The new version requires that colleges either join the voluntary association or disclose their policies before service members enroll.

Institutions must sign the memorandum by March 1 in order to participate in tuition assistance programs.

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