Executive Order 13607
Principles of Excellence Demonstration of Compliance

Executive Order 13607, signed April 27, 2012 by the President of the United States, established Principles of Excellence (POE) for educational institutions serving service members, veterans, spouses, and other family members. Eight Principles of Excellence are described in the Order.

Compliance with the POE is intended to ensure an institution provides meaningful information to prospective and current military associated students about the financial cost and quality of the institution; to assist those students in making choices about how to use their Federal educational benefits; prevent abusive and deceptive recruiting practices that target the recipients of Federal military and veterans educational benefits; and ensure that the institution provides high-quality academic and student support services to the respective group of students.

Thomas Edison State College complies with the Principles of Excellence. Demonstration of compliance is provided as follows:

Principle of Excellence How We Comply
1 Prior to enrollment, provide prospective students who are eligible to receive Federal military and veterans educational benefits with a personalized and standardized form, as developed in a manner set forth by the Secretary of Education, working with the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs, to help those prospective students understand the total cost of the educational program, including tuition and fees; the amount of that cost that will be covered by Federal educational benefits; the type and amount of financial aid they may qualify for; their estimated student loan debt upon graduation; information about student outcomes; and other information to facilitate comparison of aid packages offered by different educational institutions The College provides two Financial Aid Shopping Sheets. The first is an interactive, web-based format and is available to all students, current or prospective. It is based on the template provided by the Department of Education in July 2013 but expands the information available regarding costs and sources of financial aid and allows the student to input information. Access is available by links on our homepage, financial aid webpage, and our military and veteran webpages.

The second format is also based on the DOE template from July 2013 and is available only to currently enrolled Thomas Edison State College students through our Online Student Services system. It is useful to students who have been awarded financial aid.
2 Inform students who are eligible to receive Federal military and veterans educational benefits of the availability of Federal financial aid and have in place policies to alert those students of their potential eligibility for that aid before packaging or arranging private student loans or alternative financing programs. The College emails all identified prospective students information regarding the availability of federal and state financial aid and VA benefits. Upon receipt of admission application, additional information is provided detailing the steps to apply for financial aid or VA benefits at the College to those applicants who declare their intent to utilize those benefits. Similar information is posted on the College’s Financial Aid webpage.
3 End fraudulent and unduly aggressive recruiting techniques on and off military installations, as well as misrepresentation, payment of incentive compensation, and failure to meet State authorization requirements, consistent with the regulations issued by the Department of Education (34 C.F.R. 668.71-668.75, 668.14, and 600.9). The College does not, and has never, conducted fraudulent or aggressive recruiting on or off military installations or in any other venue, nor do we misrepresent ourselves, our programs, or our mission. We do not pay incentive compensation to anyone for recruiting actions. We meet all State authorization requirements consistent with those issued by the Department of Education.
4 Obtain the approval of the institution's accrediting agency for new course or program offerings before enrolling students in such courses or programs, provided that such approval is appropriate under the substantive change requirements of the accrediting agency. The College’s accrediting agency, Middle States Commission on Higher Education, does not approve new degree programs. The College adheres to the procedure dictated by the New Jersey Commission of Higher Education. New degree programs are approved, in order, by the College’s Academic Council, the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees, the full Board of Trustees, the Academic Issues Committee of the New Jersey Presidents’ Council, and then the full New Jersey Presidents’ Council. Substantive changes to existing degree programs are approved by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
5 Allow service members and reservists to be readmitted to a program if they are temporarily unable to attend class or have to suspend their studies due to service requirements, and take additional steps to accommodate short absences due to service obligations, provided that satisfactory academic progress is being made by the service members and reservists prior to suspending their studies. Active duty service members and reservists are allowed to continue under their established degree requirements (catalog year requirements) providing their most recent activity with the College is within 5 years of their latest Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC) agreement.
6 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 the Higher Education Act of 1965, as required under section 484B of that Act when students withdraw prior to course completion. At a December 2012 Department of Education conference, the Director of Education Services at the Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed that institutions agreeing to comply with Executive Order (EO) 13607 will not have to follow ED's Return to Title IV refund policy. The reason for this change of guidance is that an Executive Order only allows agencies to conduct activities to the extent permitted under the law. Current statutory language does not permit the return of VA funds in the manner described in the Exec Order.

The Department of Defense Memorandum of Understanding (with which TESC complies) may include such refund guidance for institutions who participate in Tuition Assistance programs for active service members. Until that, or other compelling guidance is published, military and veteran students and their family members attending Thomas Edison State College will follow the same refund as do all other students at the College.
7 Provide educational plans for all individuals using Federal military and veterans educational benefits that detail how they will fulfill all the requirements necessary to graduate and the expected timeline of completion. Each student who applies and is accepted for admission as degree-seeking is provided an official Evaluation of Transfer Credit normally within 20-25 business days of their admission. The evaluation includes all course requirements for their chosen degree, credits transferred in, how those credits are applied to the degree plan, and the expected timeline to complete their degree. Evaluations are updated periodically as needed.
8 Designate a point of contact for academic and financial advising (including access to disability counseling) to assist service member and veteran students and their families with the successful completion of their studies and with their job searches. The College’s Office of Military and Veterans Education is the designated Point of Contact for matters associated with the Principles of Excellence. Students will be referred to other College offices as needed for specific issues.