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Voluntary Military Education Programs: Literature, Data Analysis, Outcomes, and Service-Level Differences

Lauren Malone
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Background

Over the past five years, CNA has conducted multiple studies in support of Department of Defense (DOD) Voluntary Education, with a specific focus on evaluating Servicemembers’ use of the Tuition Assistance (TA) program, their associated educational outcomes, and potential changes to TA policies and practices. This report is a compilation of the four previously released CNA documents:

  • A literature review
  • A discussion of average TA-related statistics, including how they vary by Service and education sector
  • An empirical analysis of the military and demographic characteristics that are associated with TA use and positive educational outcomes
  • An exploration of why there are Service-level differences in TA use and TA outcomes

Here, we explain the underlying motivation for these studies, summarize their top-level findings, and discuss how each of them led to the next, thus providing a comprehensive review of DOD’s TA program.

The DOD provides education benefits to Servicemembers and their spouses. Two such benefits are the TA program, which is designed to decrease the financial burden of higher education for military members, and the My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) scholarship program, which is a workforce development program designed to assist eligible military spouses in pursuing training, licenses, credentials, certifications, and associate degrees in support of developing portable employment and careers. To address the dearth of information on the educational and financial outcomes of TA and MyCAA users, Congress mandated in the 2014 DOD Appropriations Bill a study to document the aggregate graduation rates, financial indebtedness, and loan default rates of these military families.

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DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release: distribution unlimited.

Details

  • Pages: 384
  • Document Number: DRM-2021-U-030487-Final
  • Publication Date: 8/2/2021
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