Memoranda of Understanding/Agreement (MOU/MOA)
The University of Alaska Southeast, from time to time, enters into agreements with private outside organizations or governmental entities in respect to providing joint or cooperative services to members of the public or in controlling relationships between the parties. These MOUs and MOAs are used to coordinate the University's authorized activities with another entity. These "agreements to agree" or umbrella agreements are often used interchangeably, although they are distinctly different. It is important to understand the difference between a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
MOUs tend to be used for simple common-cause agreements which are not legally binding. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a legal document describing a bilateral agreement between parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action, rather than a legal commitment. It is a more formal alternative to a gentlemen's agreement, but generally lacks the binding power of a contract.
MOAs, on the other hand, establish common legal terms that establish a "conditional agreement" where the transfer of funds for service are anticipated. A memorandum of agreement (MOA) or cooperative agreement is a document written between parties to cooperatively work together on an agreed upon project or meet an agreed upon objective. The MOA can also be a legal document that is binding and hold the parties responsible to their commitment or just a partnership agreement.