New Tuition Assistance Program Raising Eyebrows

A new tuition assistance oversight scheme has dozens of top schools threatening to withdraw from the military’s education program for active-duty troops, putting pressure on the Pentagon.

Many schools refusing to sign new agreement for Tuition Assistance Program.The rules require all schools accepting Tuition Assistance money to sign an agreement that includes a promise to be flexible about transferring credits from other schools, granting academic credit for military training, and limiting full-time residency requirements to accommodate troops who frequently move.

Also included in the agreement is a requirement that schools provide the Defense Department with status updates on individual students and that schools agree to periodic reviews by outside experts.

Many schools are refusing to sign the agreement because they want to retain complete control over those academic decisions. Schools that refuse to sign the agreement would be off limits for troops seeking to use their TA benefits, including Ivy League and other top research schools.

The schools believe the agreement was drafted in such a way that is infringes on the educational integrity and academic plans of the nation’s colleges and universities.

Many lawmakers have addressed the agreement as a failure, insisting that it does not address many of the key issues facing our military students. Not only that, it discourages institutions from continuing to participate in the TA program.

More than 52 senators have signed a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urging him to delay the new Tuition Assistance rules slated to take effect Jan. 1, 2012.