Military student bill of rights are designed to ensure that you receive a quality education that will benefit you while you’re in the military and after you retire from the service. Postsecondary schools that receive financial aid from the military are required to offer military students certain rights. Familiarizing yourself with these rights may help you to get the most out of your college experience.
According to the Service Members Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium, key areas covered in the military student bill of rights are as follows:
- College and university students who are currently in the military or who have retired from military service have a right to review and receive accurate information about the postsecondary school’s accreditation, admissions and graduation requirements, degree programs, associated courses and other programs.
- Adults who serve in the United States military have a right to receive career, enrollment and admissions assistance and counseling without being pressured to take courses at the college or university.
- Clear information regarding the college or university’s tuition, fees and course enrollment process
- Right to review financial information about the school without having their, the military service member’s, personal identity revealed
- Opportunity to review financial aid programs and plans offered by the school, military and other public and private organizations, without being coerced or pressured to sign up for a specific financial aid program or to enroll in the accredited college or university
- Accurate information about the postsecondary school’s scholarship programs
- Fair and equitable screening for admissions into colleges and universities and the degree programs and courses they offer
- Access to student associations, organizations and guidance programs like tutoring, career counseling and academic advice programs
- Clear guidelines and advice regarding the accredited college or university’s drop/add process
- Communication regarding the postsecondary school’s grievance and/or appeals process
Additional Rights and Protections for Military Students
Furthermore, as of January 1, 2012 and according to the Department of Defense, online college and distance learning institutions of higher education that receive financial aid from the military must sign a memorandum with the Department of Defense stating that they only charge one tuition rate to all military students who take the same course. Therefore, postsecondary schools cannot increase their tuition rates based on the amount of financial aid a military member receives due to their rank or length of military service. Colleges and universities must also sign the memorandum affirming that they accept reasonable transfer credits from previous postsecondary schools military members attended. Colleges and universities that accept financial aid from the military must also accept reasonable military training as academic credits as well as credit from “at least one nationally recognized testing program” like the College Level Examination Program. The new policy was announced on July 12, 2011.
The military student bill of rights and new memorandum offer protections to the government, tax payers and military members by putting procedures in place that hold colleges and universities responsible for focusing on providing military members with a quality education and access to degree programs and courses they can graduate from as soon as possible, without taking duplicate courses or being pressured to enroll in a college or university program.