Comments on the August 14, 2013, Proposed Rule A.
Comments on Proposed Substantive Requirements1.
Tuition Assistance (“TA”)
Funds After WithdrawalDOD MOU § 4(f)(2)
Administration of Tuition (78 Fed. Reg. 49397):
TA will be limited to tuition and is refundable in accordance with the
institution’s tuition refund policy. Additionally, the following refund
requirements must be met: (a) Must be 100 percent refundable up until thestart of the course.
(b) The institution’s policy for returning unearned TA
funds for Service members who stop attending due to Military serviceobligations must be aligned with provisions in section 484B of Title IV of theHigher Education Act of 1965, and the Department of Education regulations
set out at 34 CFR 668.22. (c) The institution’s policy for returning unearned
TA funds for Service members who withdraw prior to the course completionmust be aligned with provisions in section 484B of Title IV of the HigherEducation Act of 1965, and with Department of Education regulations set outat 34 CFR 668.22.
Under Principle of Excellence (f), an educational institution that participates in the DoD TA Program
must “agree to an institutional refund policy that is aligned with the refund of unearned student aid rules
applicable to Federal student aid provided through the Department of Education under Title IV of theHigher Education Act of 1965, as required under section 484B of that Act when students withdraw prior
to course completion.” The U.S. Department of Education’s (“ED’s”) regulation regarding the return of Title IV funds is commonly referred to as “R2T4.”
While Principle (f) speaks to
with R2T4requirements, it does not compel wholesale adoption of those requirements for TA Program funds. Inaddition, simply grafting R2T4 rules onto the TA Program is impracticable and will not provide desiredprotections for service members and other TA-eligible persons. Below we explain our concerns and offerthoughts on an approach.
R2T4 regulations were not designed to apply to return of all types of federalfunds.
The R2T4 regulations in 34 C.F.R. § 668.22 were designed solely to address particular matters that arise with respect to Title IV funds and the process for return of such funds to ED. The regulations were notdesigned to apply to all types of federal funds. The regulations are substantively and procedurally complex, with more than 200 pages of ED guidance on how to determine the date on which a student withdraws officially or unofficially from an institution, how to calculate the amount of money that must bereturned to ED, the specific Title IV programs to which funds must be returned and in what order, and thetiming of all decisions and actions. ED has developed worksheets and software to facilitate institutionalcompliance with the required calculation, which has multiple components. Within the rules established by ED, an institution has some discretion with respect to the R2T4 calculation, particularly in terms of thedate to use as the withdrawal date when a student withdraws unofficially from an institution.
Federal Student Aid Handbook
explains that the R2T4 rules do not dictate an institutional refundpolicy and do not forbid an institution from developing its own refund policy. See 2012-2013
Federal Student Aid Handbook
, 5-3. As a result, many institutions have a policy that addresses return of unearnedTitle IV funds to ED and a separate policy that addresses institutional refunds of tuition and fees to