When the Post-9/11 GI Bill went live in 2009, student-Veterans were not the only group who noticed a more generous payout. Universities across the country were happy to accept straight-up tuition payments without going through scholarship and loan hoops. But a growing sector of typically online universities, commonly referred to as for-profit schools, enjoyed an additional benefit: GI Bill tuition didn’t count in their profit margin restrictions on federal student loans. An explosion in active-duty and Veteran recruitment soon followed.
But are the degrees offered by these schools worth the hard-earned education benefits? Keith Wilson, VA’s Director of Education Service, warned Veterans that employers factor in the kind of university which applicants attend before they make a hiring decision. In other words, it’s not only that you graduate, but that you leave with a degree in hand from a credible university.
If you’re a student on the GI Bill now or thinking about using your education benefits later, it’d be worth your time to catch PBS Frontline tonight. “Educating Sergeant Pantzke” explores the for-profit industry’s sudden interest in Veteran education and addresses that age old question, “Is this worth my time and money?” It airs tonight at 9:00 PM ET. View the trailer here.
UPDATE 6/29 9:00 AM ET — As requested, the full episode of “Educating Sergeant Pantzke” has now been posted above. You can also watch it on the PBS Frontline website.
UPDATE #2 6/29 1:30 PM ET — The film’s producer and Daniel Golden, a journalist who covers for-profits for Bloomberg (and who was featured in the film) will be hosting a live chat at 3:00 PM ET. I won’t be around for it, but it should be good!