OSU needs to sign memorandum
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 00:02
Oregon State University should sign the memorandum of understanding with the Department of Defense regarding tuition assistance. That the university has dawdled on the matter for this long is upsetting, especially when signing the document should be a clear-cut matter.
Not signing by March 1 could end OSU receiving money for the program, and put approximately 100 service members’ tuition funding at risk beginning spring term. If OSU truly is the military and veteran friendly university that it hypes itself to be, it needs to sign this document.
The Department of Defense issued the memorandum in order to combat abuses to the program by for-profit colleges that were taking advantage of service members. The memorandum merely ensures that students who are active duty service members are progressing in school and that the Department of Defense is not wasting its money on phony schools — it is merely making sure its investment is spent wisely.
While the memorandum is not entirely perfect, not signing would put students at risk— a risk not worth taking. This is especially true considering a third draft of the memorandum is coming out shortly according to the Department of Defense.
It is true the new rules may cause a little extra work for officials in the registrar’s office, but it is a small price to pay to make sure that those who serve our country continue to be able to receive assistance to attend this university. These men and women have already given up so much in order to serve our nation, the least this university can do is make sure they receive all the benefits due to them.
The tuition assistance program allows active duty service men and women to get tuition fully funded up to $4,500 annually. It is a great help to soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who want to further their education.
The university already has certifying officials for the GI Bill and these and others could be tapped in order to make sure the memorandum’s requirements are met. The new requirements merely ask that information already collected through the university in the MyDegrees program get sent to the Department of Defense. The taxpayers want to make sure their dollars aren’t being wasted and this is merely ensuring it.
We are certain the university will sign the document in time — we cannot think of a reason it would not. But if OSU did not sign it, it would be doing a grave disservice not only to those who are counting on that money to continue their studies spring term and beyond, but to the university at large. Veterans and service men and women are a valuable addition to the university experience and we need their voices. Especially if we claim to be friendly to them.
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