Department of Defense Voluntary Education Partnership
Dr. Christine Kelly-Kleese
Vice President, Student Engagement, Development,
and Support/Chief Student Services Officer
Student Engagement, Development, and Support
April 13, 2021
|Next Review Date:|
The Department of Defense Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding between Durham Technical Community College and the Department of Defense Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness articulates the commitment and agreement the College provides to the Department of Defense by accepting funds via each Military Service’s Tuition Assistance program in exchange for education services. To ensure compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding, Durham Technical Community College adheres to Department of Defense Voluntary Education program guidelines related to recruiting, marketing, and advertising; financial matters; accreditation and credentialing; and academic counseling and post-graduation employment opportunities.
The Department of Defense (DoD) Voluntary Education (VolEd) program seeks to shape quality educational experiences that result in meaningful value for Military Service members, the Services, and society. Durham Technical Community College’s (Durham Tech’s) Veterans Services department assists students who are eligible for Veterans educational benefits, including Veterans, active-duty personnel, and members of selected reserves and the National Guard.
Recruiting, Marketing, and Advertising
In accordance with Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1322.25, Voluntary Education Programs, paragraph 1.c.(1)(b), Durham Tech, as an institution providing education programs through the DoD Tuition Assistance (TA) Program, does not use unfair, deceptive, and abusive recruiting practices.
In accordance with DoD Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) paragraph 3.j.(2), Durham Tech refrains “from providing any commission, bonus, or other incentive payment based directly or indirectly on securing enrollments or federal financial aid (including TA funds) to any persons or entities engaged in any student recruiting, admission activities, or making decisions regarding the award of student financial assistance.”
In accordance with DoD MOU paragraph 3.j.(3), Durham Tech refrains “from high-pressure recruitment tactics such as making multiple unsolicited contacts (three or more), including contacts by phone, email, or in person, and engaging in same-day recruitment and registration for the purpose of securing Service member enrollments.”
Per DoD MOU paragraph 4.e.(2)-(3), “DoD personnel are entitled to consideration for all forms of financial aid that educational institutions make available to students at their home campus.” Durham Tech’s financial aid officers provide information and application processes for Title IV student aid programs, scholarships, fellowships, grants, and loans to DoD TA recipients. Service members identified as eligible DoD TA recipients have their TA benefits applied to their Durham Tech account prior to the application of their Pell Grant funds.
Per DoD MOU paragraph 4.d.(1), “if an eligible Service member decides to use TA,” Durham Tech “will enroll [them] only after the TA is approved by the individual’s Service.” Veterans are referred to School Certifying Officials (SCO) via the College’s website and by staff during orientation sessions and advising inquiries. Veterans are asked to complete intake forms before being certified by an SCO.
In addition, per the College’s Admissions policy, any student applying for Veterans benefits must provide all official transcripts (high school, high school equivalency, and college). Veterans follow the College’s general admissions procedures as outlined within the policy. For support during the admission and enrollment processes, Veterans who decide to use the TA program are directed to meet with an SCO in the Veterans Services office and speak with their Educational Services Officer or counselor within their Military Service prior to completing their enrollment.
Durham Tech focuses on supporting students who are Veterans and refrains from high-pressure recruitment tactics for the purpose of enrolling Service members. The College refrains from providing any incentives based on securing enrollments to any person or entity involved in student recruiting or admissions activities or in making decisions regarding financial assistance for students.
Per DoD MOU paragraph 3.h.(1) and (4), “before offering, recommending, arranging, signing-up, dispersing, or enrolling Service members for…student loans, [the College will] provide Service members access to an institutional financial aid advisor who will make available appropriate loan counseling, including…providing a clear and complete explanation of available financial aid, including Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended…[and] explaining that students have the ability to refuse all or borrow less than the maximum student loan amount allowed.” Durham Tech students are assigned a financial aid advisor based on their last name.
Per Sec. 132 (h)(1) of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008, “institutions must make available on their websites a net price calculator. The institution may use the template provided by the Department of Education or may develop a customized version that must include, at a minimum, the same elements as the Department's version.” Durham Tech’s net price calculator is available via the Financial Aid section of the College’s website.
Per DoDI 1322.25, Voluntary Education Programs, paragraph 3.d.(1)(a), institutions will “provide meaningful information to students on the financial cost of attendance at an educational institution so Military students can make informed decisions on where to attend school.” DoD MOU paragraph 3.n.(5) requires that institutions “disclose basic information about the educational institution’s programs and costs, including tuition and other charges to the Service member. This information will be made readily accessible without requiring the Service member to disclose any personal or contact information.” Durham Tech publishes this information on each program web page and provides additional information via the net price calculator.
Per DoD MOU paragraph 3.h.(3), “before offering, recommending, arranging, signing-up, dispersing, or enrolling Service members for…student loans, [the College will] provide Service members access to an institutional financial aid advisor who will make available appropriate loan counseling, including…disclosing the educational institution’s student loan Cohort Default Rate (CDR), the percentage of its students who borrow, and how its CDR compares to the national average. If the educational institution’s CDR is greater than the national average CDR, it must disclose that information and provide the student with loan repayment data.” Veterans are directed to meet with an SCO as they enter the College; the SCO and financial aid advisors discuss all forms of financial aid with new students and disclose the CDR to students interested in discussing loans. Durham Tech’s most recent official CDR is available via the College’s website (refer to the Getting a Loan page and the Loan Awards section of the Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions page).
Per DoD MOU paragraph 4.f.(2)(d), institutions are required to “have an institutional policy that returns any unearned TA funds on a proportional basis through at least the sixty percent portion of the period for which the funds were provided. TA funds are earned proportionally during an enrollment period, with unearned funds returned based upon when a student stops attending. In instances when a Service member stops attending due to a Military service obligation, the educational institution will work with the affected Service member to identify solutions that will not result in a student debt for the returned portion.” Durham Tech’s institutional policy on the return to the government of unearned TA funds is as follows: When a student withdraws, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of TA funds originally awarded. Durham Tech will return any unearned TA funds on a prorated basis through the sixty percent portion of the period for which the funds were awarded. These funds are returned to the government, not the student. When a student stops attending due to a Military service obligation, Durham Tech will work with the Service member to identify solutions that will not result in student debt for the returned portion. The refund guidelines for sixteen-week courses are as follows:
- If the course withdrawal is submitted before or during the first two weeks of the semester, 100% of the funds are returned.
- If the course withdrawal is submitted during the third or fourth week of the semester, 75% of the funds are returned.
- If the course withdrawal is submitted during the fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth week of the semester, 50% of the funds are returned.
Accreditation and Credentialing Requirements
Per DoD MOU paragraph 3.b and 3.l, institutions are required to “be accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency recognized by [the Education Department]…[and to] obtain the approval of their accrediting agency for any new course or program offering, provided such approval is required under the substantive change requirements of the accrediting agency…before the enrollment of a Service member into the new course or program offering.” Durham Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate’s degrees, diplomas, and certificates. The College provides written notification to SACSCOC of substantive changes in accordance with Commission policies and timetables.
Academic Counseling and Post-Graduation Employment Opportunities
Per DoD MOU paragraph 4.c.(1) and (4), institutions are required to “disclose general degree requirements for the Service member’s educational program (evaluated educational plan) to the member and [their] Service before the enrollment of the Service member at the educational institution…[and] degree requirements in effect at the time of each Service member’s enrollment will remain in effect for a period of at least one year beyond the program’s standard length, provided the Service member is in good academic standing and has been continuously enrolled or received an approved academic leave of absence.” Refer to the College Catalog for academic information and degree requirements.
Durham Tech’s Curriculum Program Completion and Graduation policy offers clear guidance to students, and academic program pages (e.g., Automotive Systems Technology program page) detail the specific plans of study for each program. Students develop individual course plans, by semester, in the Self-Service advising system, with support from their assigned advisor and their SCO. The College’s website lists all programs that have programmatic accreditation, and programs that require professional credentials and/or licensure are listed on the State Authorization, Complaints, and Professional Licensure page. Students who live outside the state of North Carolina are sent an email message with state licensure information when they apply to the College.
Per DoD MOU paragraph 3.n.(1), institutions are required to “disclose its transfer credit policies and articulated credit transfer agreements before a Service member’s enrollment. Disclosure will explain acceptance of credits in transfer is determined by the educational institution to which the student wishes to transfer and [will] refrain from making unsubstantiated representations to students about acceptance of credits in transfer by another institution.” Durham Tech evaluates transfer credit for equivalent courses with the grade of "C" or better from member institutions of the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) and other post-secondary institutions. Refer to the Transfer Credit Award policy for additional information.
Durham Tech currently grants Military credit for physical education under the Transfer Credit Award policy. The NCCCS Office will provide access to a database used by public institutions, allowing each college to expand credit for prior learning; updates to the Military Credit for Prior Learning policy will be implemented as they are approved.
Per DoD MOU paragraph 3.g, institutions are required to “designate a point of contact or office for academic and financial advising, including access to disability counseling, to assist Service members with completion of studies and with job search activities.” Durham Tech’s Counseling, Accessibility, and Resources staff, located in Wynn Center (Building 10), provide academic and financial advising and accessibility services. The Employee Credentialing procedure and Financial Aid and Veterans Services job descriptions have been developed and are periodically reviewed to ensure staff are highly qualified for their positions.
Per DoD MOU paragraph 3.i.(1), institutions are required to “have a readmission policy for Service members that allows Service members and reservists to be readmitted to a program if they are temporarily unable to attend class or have to suspend their studies due to Service requirements.” Eligibility for readmission to Durham Tech depends on individual circumstances and the requirements of the specific curriculum program. Refer to the Readmission and Change of Program procedure for details.
The Class Absences policy provides the following additional attendance information and guidance specifically for active Service members: The State Board of Community Colleges (SBCC) requires each community college to adopt a policy to give an excused absence to any student who is in the United States Armed Forces and has received temporary or permanent re-assignment as a result of Military operations and to any student who is a National Guard service member placed onto State active duty status during an academic term for the period of time the student is on active duty. Upon notification, the College shall provide the student the following accommodations:
- The opportunity for the student to make up any test or other work missed during the excused absence;
- The option, when feasible, to continue classes and coursework during the academic term through online participation for the period of time the student is placed on active duty;
- The option of receiving a temporary grade of "Incomplete (I)" or "Grade Not Yet Reported (X)" for any course that the student was unable to complete as a result of being placed on State active duty status; however, the student must complete the course requirements within the period of time specified by the College to avoid receiving a failing grade for the course (consult the Grading System policy for more information);
- Permission to drop, with no penalty, any course that the student was unable to complete as a result of being placed on State active duty status; and permission to drop, with no financial penalty, any course that the student was unable to complete as a result of the excused absence as set forth in 1E SBCCC 900.4 (Military Refund).
Students receiving Veterans benefits, Pell Grants, or any other source of financial aid should meet with their financial aid advisor to discuss their particular situation related to any extended absence for Military service. Students called into active duty are referred directly to the College Registrar for assistance.
Continuous Enrollment – Students are considered continuously enrolled at the College if they register for and attend courses (including prerequisites) creditable toward a degree, diploma, or certificate. The student must attend credit coursework in a following semester after the initial enrollment semester (attendance is required in the following fall or spring semester or following spring or fall semester).