Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Military Personnel Forced to Miss School Now Protected

In 2010, the Department of Education published regulations implementing the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.  The regulations, 5 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R) section 668.18, went into effect July 1, 2010.  The law is codified under 20 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 1091c.  Until the regulations were made effective, each educational institution was expected to make a good faith effort to comply with the language of the statute. 

The law and regulations accord the postsecondary education student whose education was interrupted by voluntary or involuntary military service the right to readmission to the educational program. These new requirements apply to any educational institution that participates in title IV federal student financial aid programs, including Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and the Federal Work-Study Program. 

This applies to the student who is a member of the National Guard or Reserves and who is called to active duty involuntarily or volunteers for an extended period of active duty. It applies to the student who starts an educational program (often part-time) while on active duty and who then must interrupt the educational program because of a deployment or a Permanent Change of Station (PCS). It also applies to a student who interrupts his or her education to enlist in a regular component of the armed forces. Such a person is entitled, as a matter of federal law, to resume the educational program later, either during or after the person's active duty service.

Law Review 1052, by Commander Wayne L. Johnson, JAGC, Navy (Retired), provides more detailed information on this subject and who to contact regarding its implementation.

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