DoD

June 14, 2013

Official explains tuition assistance quality assurance program

WASHINGTON, D.C. — To increase stewardship and optimize service members’ educational experiences, Defense Department officials have developed a multifaceted quality assurance program to improve tuition assistance, the assistant secretary of defense for readiness and force management said on Capitol Hill, June 12.

In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee, Frederick E. Vollrath said new policies would mandate that all participating institutions sign a memorandum of understanding requiring them to adhere to specific principles of excellence.

“This will help end fraudulent recruitment on our military installations, address other predatory practices by bad academic actors and provide students with personalized, standardized forms outlining costs, financial aid and outcome measures,” Vollrath said.

The memorandum also requires that military students have access to a streamlined tool to compare educational institutions using key measures of affordability and value through the Veterans Affairs Department’s E-11

Financial Protection Bureau will have access to all complaints as they work to resolve issues, he added.

“Underpinning this effort is the requirement that all post-secondary education participating in the Tuition Assistance Program must be accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education,” Vollrath said.

Meanwhile, he said, the Defense Department will continue to provide lifelong learning opportunities through off-duty, voluntary education programs, noting that each year a third of service members enroll in post-secondary education courses leading to associate’s, bachelor’s and advanced degrees. In fiscal year 2012, more than 286,000 service members enrolled in nearly 875,000 courses, and more than 50,000 service members earned degrees or certifications, Vollrath reported.

“All service members enrolled in the voluntary education programs are nontraditional students, in that they attend school part-time while they are off duty, taking, on average, only three courses per year,” Vollrath said. But military missions, deployments and transfers frequently impinge on the troops’ ability to continue their education, he noted, adding that this often results in breaks of months, or in some cases years between service members taking courses and completing their degrees.

With that in mind, colleges and universities are delivering more classroom instruction online as well as on military installations around the world, Vollrath added.

“There are no geographical confines,” he said. “Courses are offered aboard ships, submarines and at deployed locations such as Afghanistan — this is the kind of instruction our service members want.”

Vollrath also said more than 76 percent of the courses taken last year were delivered through distance learning. Still, he stressed, the rigors of military service will not relax strict requirements in place for participating service members.

“Prior to enrolling in courses using tuition assistance, service members must establish an educational goal and a degree plan,” he said. An educational counselor must review tuition assistance requests outlined in the approve degree plan. Service members who either fail or do not complete the course must reimburse the DOD for tuition assistance received for that course.

“Service members failing to maintain a 2.0 undergraduate grade-point average or a 3.0 graduate GPA must pay for all courses until they raise their GPA sufficiently,” Vollrath explained. “Our voluntary education program is a key component of the recruitment, readiness and retention of the total force — an all-volunteer force.”

To further illustrate the value of the education program, Vollrath cited an example of retired Senior Master Sgt. Eric Combs, who entered the military with a general education development certificate before earning his Community College of the Air Force and bachelor’s degrees with tuition assistance while on active duty. retirement, he went on to earn his master’s degree in education in 2005.

Upon his retirement, he participated in the Troops to Teachers program and earned acclaim with his selection as the Ohio Teacher of the Year in 2006. He now serves as a principal in the public school system.

“The skills he learned and the education he received while serving in the Air Force ultimately benefited him, the Air Force and the nation,” Vollrath said.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
hb

Mental health services available for all Team March members, families

March Field offers mental health services through Elaine Valentine, 452nd Air Mobility Wing, director of psychological health and a licensed clinical social worker with more than 15 years of experience in the mental health care...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Women can succeed in a man’s world

Courtesy photo Pamela Hann, March Base Civil Engineer, surveys a consturction project at March Air Reserve Base, California. Hann became the first female BCE in Air Force Reserve Command on May 15, 2005, and is responsible for ...
 
 
NWH3

National Women’s History Month: Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives

(Final in a 4-part series) The National Women’s History Project’s 2015 theme is “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives.” In this ongoing series, we highlight individual women who made a difference in the fabric or our ...
 

 
Miracles

Retired Air Force Reservist finds inspiration through loss

Courtesy of Evan Money (First in a three-part series chronicling Angela Alexander’s incredible story which led to a book, a ministry and now, a documentary.) MIRACLE: “An unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be ca...
 
 
U.S. Air Force art by Master Sgt. Elizabeth Concepcion/Released

Airmen stay focused in DOD competition

U.S. Air Force art by Master Sgt. Elizabeth Concepcion/Released Digital painting created in Adobe Photoshop. This artwork was created to depict the US Army occupation in Vietnam and was inspired by the story of a Vietnam war ve...
 
 
Photo: Air Force
Ninth Chief Master

Former CMSAF Binnicker passes away at 76

Photo: Air ForceNinth Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Binnicker died on March 21. Former Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Binnicker, who was the service’s top enlisted man from 1986 to 1990, passed away in Ca...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin