Tuition assistance has become a popular benefit for military members, veterans and their families, and today, many are turning to distance learning to fulfill their educational goals. In light of increasing enrollments, the Department of Defense convened a task force charged with establishing recommendations for quality standards that mirror those for traditional campus-based programs and that are tailored to the needs of the military community. The intention was to ensure high quality distance education programs for service members, veterans and their families who are eligible for tuition assistance benefits in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order 13607.
As a result, all educational institutions partnering in the military voluntary education program must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) if they expect to participate in the military tuition assistance program. In addition, they must agree to participate in the Military Voluntary Education Review (MVER) in the same manner as institutions that operate on military installations. Institutions must continue to comply with the SOC standards and maintain accreditation by a regional or national accrediting agency. They must also continue to provide enrollment and grade data.
New provisions under the updated MOU include the requirement to provide the Department of Defense, the various branches of the military and students with information about the institution’s website, campus locations, types of instructional delivery methods it uses and contact information for its educational leadership who are responsible for the overall program.
The military would like institutions to consider giving students credit for military training or transferring credits from other schools in order to reduce the time and cost required for students to complete a degree or other educational program.
By signing the MOU, educational institutions are not required to do any of these things; they are simply agreeing to consider doing them to their fullest ability in order to avoid duplicating students’ comparable learning experiences.