NAICU Washington Update

Higher Education Community Comments on Revised Tuition Assistance MOU

October 07, 2013

NAICU joined the American Council on Education, the National Association of College and University Business Officers, and several other higher education associations in submitting comments about proposed revisions in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) governing the Department of Defense’s Tuition Assistance (TA) program. [See September 5, 2013 Washington Update.]

The comment letter emphasizes the particular problems that would result from wholesale application of the Department of Education’s return of Title IV rules to TA refunds. Instead, the associations suggest an alternate approach that is consistent with the Title IV requirement, while being simpler both for servicemembers to understand and for institutions to implement.

The primary purpose of the proposed revisions is to incorporate into the MOU the “Principles of Excellence” outlined in Executive Order 13607. Most of the principles are already incorporated in the MOU that was finalized in December 2012. [See December 10, 2012 Washington Update] However, the existing MOU does not include provisions related to the return of TA funds after withdrawal, misrepresentation, incentive compensation, state authorization, readmission, and the provision of consumer information.

The letter also requests that DoD clarify the type of consumer information institutions must provide; urges that the program continue to cover fees—not just tuition; and requests the removal of confusing language in the definitions section related to the award of credit for prior learning experiences.

All institutions participating in the Tuition Assistance program will be required to sign the revised MOU once it is finalized in the coming months.

For Additional Background on Principles of Excellence, see:

May 14, 2012 Washington Update (President Issues Executive Order on Higher Ed Service to Military)

June 22, 2012 Washington Update (VA Urged to Provide More Clarity in “Principles of Excellence” Request)

July 5, 2012 Washington Update (VA Extends “Principles of Excellence” Deadline to August 1)

July 23, 2012 Washington Update (Departments of Veterans Affairs, Education Continue Implementation of “Principles of Excellence”)

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