Letter Requests Delay for DoD MOU
November 29, 2011
NACUBO joined the American Council on Education and several other associations in a November 21 letter urging Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to delay implementation of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) governing participation in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Tuition Assistance (TA) program. While the associations applauded DoD’s efforts to improve oversight of the Voluntary Education programs, they argued that many institutions were unwilling to sign the MOU as it is currently drafted. Recent clarifications provided by DoD were helpful but “do not carry the same legal weight as the text of the MOU itself and do not go far enough in addressing other institutions’ concerns.” The associations also suggested that a de minimis exception be provided that would allow institutions with small numbers of TA participants to continue in the program without a signed MOU.
Currently, institutions that wish to continue participating in the TA program, which provides assistance to active duty and reserve servicemembers, must sign the MOU and have it accepted by DoD by January 1, 2012. Many colleges and universities have already signed, while others have hesitated to do so because of various provisions in the document that they find objectionable.
It is unclear whether efforts to delay the deadline and get changes to the language of the MOU will be successful. A notice posted on the DoD MOU web site on November 28 reads: “January 1, 2012 is rapidly approaching. There will not be any extension to the DoD MOU. DoD is holding firm to the January 1 date.” Institutions will have to carefully consider whether to sign the MOU as drafted or decline to participate.
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