Defense Tools to Help Find the Right School

Defense VolEd continues to transform its strategic partnerships

Over the past few years, the Defense Voluntary Education (VolEd) Enterprise has made major changes to its partnership with postsecondary academic institutions. From ensuring service members are attending quality academic institutions to providing military students with tools to make informed decisions, Defense VolEd continues to transform its strategic partnerships with more than 2,800 colleges, universities, and other postsecondary training providers. However, with many changes, there are always many questions. This article hopes to provide answers to some of the questions being asked with regards to Defense education partnerships and the official college comparison tool for military students.

This may be a primer for some and a refresher for others, but the following article will equip you with some basic information on two Defense education tools:

  • DoD MOU - The Department of Defense Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (DoD MOU) between DoD Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD(P&R)) and educational institutions
  • TA DECIDE - The official online information and comparison tool for military members

For more information on each of these programs, visit the DANTES website.

DoD MOU Questions

Here are three common questions received from military students about the DoD MOU program:

Q1. How do I find out if the school I want to attend is eligible to receive TA?

A1. Since 2014, DoD policy requires educational institutions that wish to participate in the DoD Tuition Assistance (TA) program to sign an MOU conveying the commitments and agreements between the educational institution and the DoD prior to an educational institution receiving funds from a Service's TA program. All educational institutions that have signed the DoD MOU can be found by clicking on the Participating Institutions tab on the DoD MOU program website.

Q2. Can I attend a school that does not have a DoD MOU partnership?

A2. Participating DoD MOU schools have been vetted for quality and value for military members by the Defense Department. All institutions providing high school completion and postsecondary education programs through the DoD TA program must have a signed, approved DoD MOU on file prior to service members receiving TA approval to attend their institution. If service members choose to attend a non-DoD approved school, they may not be eligible for TA and may need to search for other sources of funding such as self-funding, education benefits available through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Student Aid, or scholarships. Additional information is available on https://www.dodmou.com by clicking "Department of Defense (DoD) Voluntary Education DoD Installation Access Tips and Resource Links" in the "Resources" box in the lower right corner.

Q3. How can I research and compare DoD MOU partnership schools?

A3. TA DECIDE is a college comparison tool to help you with selecting the right school for your needs. Visit the website, for more information.

TA DECIDE Questions

Here are three common questions received from military students about the TA DECIDE program:

Q1. What is TA DECIDE?

A1. TA DECIDE is an online information and comparison tool tailored to the unique educational needs of service members. The tool is designed to support decision-making when military members select DoD MOU eligible schools, choose a degree program to enroll in, and when making choices that are aligned with their unique personal goals.

Q2. Why should I take the time to use TA DECIDE?

A2. With more than 2,800 schools to choose from, military students are encouraged to use this tool to research potential schools in order to make informed selections on a program of study. Only educational institutions that are listed as participating DoD MOU schools are listed within TA DECIDE. Therefore, military students can be confident that any school that they find will be eligible to receive TA funding to pay for coursework. Furthermore, these schools are committed to and are held accountable for meeting the requirements and adhering to the student protections outlined within the DoD policy.

TA DECIDE is the only online tool that focuses specifically on showing service members how other military students and veterans are performing at each school in terms of completion rates and tuition costs. By entering personal parameters, such as preferred degree level, program area and residential area, service members can use TA DECIDE to research and compare schools and programs.

The TA DECIDE tool is located on the DoD MOU website. Click on the "TA DECIDE" tab at the top of page to access the program.

Q3. Who can use TA DECIDE?

A3. TA DECIDE can be accessed 24/7 and is available to the general public. TA DECIDE is the official source for research and comparison of DoD MOU partnership schools for active duty, U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserve component members.


Do you have more questions? We have more answers. You can use our Live Chat function available on the DANTES website 24/7 at dantes.doded.mil. You'll find contact information in the blue "Need Help?" boxes located throughout the website, as well as the "Search" tool and the "Contact DANTES" tool located at the top of our website. Lastly, the message tool on the DANTES Facebook page is also available 24/7.

Other DANTES Program Resources

There is a variety of other education tools and resources available to help you on your education journey. Check out the following:

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