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President to President
Molly Corbett Broad's weekly email newsletter to higher education leaders.

President to President: Higher Education Fiscal Cliff Resources, DoD Releases Final Tuition Assistance Program MOU

Vol. 13, No. 35

  • ​Fiscal Cliff Negotiations Continue; Higher Education Fiscal Cliff Reading List
  • Defense Department Releases Final Tuition Assistance Program MOU
  • David Brooks, MOOC Innovators Among ACE Annual Meeting Speakers
  • IN BRIEF: EWA Videos Now Available on EdMedia Commons

There was no substantial progress in the fiscal cliff talks this week, other than a warning from President Obama that Congress should not add the debt ceiling to the tax and spending cut issues already on the table.

National Journal reported this week that Democrats have adopted a deliberate strategy of "slow-walking Republicans to the edge of the fiscal cliff," believing that internal pressure within Republican ranks will force conservatives to accept the idea of raising taxes on high earners. The only problem with playing the long game is the looming deadline on a deal, which must be completed by Dec. 31.

As we wait for negotiations to move forward—or not, as the case may be—I've compiled a brief reading list that gives an overview of the implications of the fiscal cliff for higher education. My thanks to those of you who are reaching out to your local media to describe the possibly devastating ramifications for campuses and students. You can read one such op-ed here by Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York, and Jack Quinn, president of Erie Community College (NY). Other stories of interest include:

The Department of Defense (DoD) on Thursday announced the release of the long-awaited memorandum of understanding (MOU) colleges and universities must sign to participate in DoD's Tuition Assistance program. It will be published in today's Federal Register.

Effective March 1, 2013, DoD is implementing the following policy: "For an institution to be eligible to participate in the DoD Tuition Assistance (TA) Program, they must have a signed DoD MOU and be on the 'Participating Institutions' list, which is posted on the DoD MOU webpage:"

After March 1, institutions will not be able to enroll service members under the TA program until it has signed the MOU. If your institution signed the first MOU, you do not need to sign the revised one, although you may do so if you choose.

As many of you know, we spent a good deal of time last winter and in early 2012 discussing with DoD our concerns with the original MOU. While we are continuing to carefully review the text, we believe the revised MOU makes changes designed to address the most pressing concerns raised by the higher education community. A third MOU, incorporating additional changes based on the White House Principles of Excellence, is being drafted at DoD and is expected to be released for public comment sometime next year.

If you have any questions about the revised MOU, please contact Anne Hickey at

We have a fantastic slate of speakers lined up for ACE's 95th Annual Meeting, scheduled for March 2-5, 2013, in Washington, DC. Be sure and sign up soon—early registration ends Dec. 15.

Join us to hear New York Times columnist David Brooks, Coursera co-founders Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller of Stanford University (CA), and EdX President Anant Agrawal of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others. We'll be announcing additional speakers in the new year, so check the Annual Meeting website often to see who's coming to Washington.

For those of you who dabble in social media, we now have a Facebook page that you can "like" to receive regular meeting updates. You also can follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation. Use the hashtag #LeadingChange13 to join the conversation about the Annual Meeting.


Last month I had the opportunity to participate in the Education Writers Association annual Higher Education Seminar in Indianapolis, IN. I recently learned that videos of several key sessions, including Inside Higher Ed co-founder and editor Scott Jaschik's terrific keynote address, are now available on the EdMedia Commons website. Click here to view Scott's presentation on "10 Higher Education Stories You Should Be Covering This Year."

Molly Corbett Broad
President of ACE