White House Moves to Ensure Accountability in Veterans Education



Military and Veteran students have increasingly become the target of deceptive recruiting practices by for-profit schools since the Post-9/11 GI Bill became law. Here at VAntage Point, we’ve brought you news and commentary to help you make the best of your education decisions amid a sea of misinformation and unscrupulous advertising.

Today, the White House took a major step forward in restricting the ability of for-profit schools to take advantage of Veterans.

The Executive Order signed by the President will:

  • Help Ensure Military and Veteran Students Have the Information They Need: Schools that accept  GI Bill tuition will be required to provide the Know Before You Owe financial aid form, which will help inform students on tuition and fees, federal financial aid, and outcomes like graduation rates. We’ll list the schools that participate in the program on our website.
  • Keep Bad Actors Off of Military Installations:  Schools with a history of poor behavior in their recruitment strategies will be prevented from setting up shop on military bases.
  • Crack Down on Improper Online Recruiting Practices: Websites with military and Veteran themes have cropped up to give information on programs like the GI Bill, but they often are lead generators that direct students to for-profit schools. We’ve warned Veterans about these sites in the past. To combat this, the order will initiate the process for VA to trademark “GI Bill” in order to avoid confusion on which sites provide accurate information, and which siphon off students to their advertisers.
  • Provide Veterans with a Complaint System: A centralized complaint system will be established for students receiving using military and Veteran education benefits. Also, the enforcement and compliance functions of those DOD, VA and the Education Department will be strengthened.
  • Improve Support Services for Service Members and Veterans: Schools must take a leading role to meet the needs of student Veterans. They will provide educational plans for students, academic and financial aid counseling, and a streamlined process to enroll or dis-enroll if service-related reasons come up.
  • Provide Students with Better Data on Educational Institutions: Retention and completion rates of Veterans are not currently tracked. This will change that in order to measure success of government and academic efforts to help Veterans complete their education.

As a Veteran, one of the most important investments you can make is in your education. It’s not our job to tell you where to go to school, but it is our job to make sure you’re getting value for your hard-earned benefits. These measures are a step in the right direction to ensure the bad actors are kept at bay while you concentrate on what’s really important: Finishing your education and moving on to a meaningful career.

Author

Alex Horton

Comments

  1. Jim Savage    

    The White House does not go far enough. Consumer Protection and full disclosure are key elements for educational contracts between the serviceman and veteran. Education institutions should be disbarred from receipt of future students with government benefits when the quality and completion rate of their offerings are in the lower 33 1/3% in that our soldiers and veterans deserve better and should not waste their educational entitlements for a substandard education. The US’s education achievement compared with most other leading industrial nations has been lowered and future employers are not being given an adequate representation of what the veteran and service member has achieved with these low standard quickie “accredited” degrees. If a student needs remedial education before he/she can enter a legitimate program, provide that first. While I am a libertarian and this may seem restrictive, we must recognize that these benefits have been earned for a clear US constitutional purpose. These benefits entitles those who give service to their country with a REAL opportunity for a REAL education and those so much of the popular offerings today are nothing more than a FRAUD upon the beneficiary which is not the educational institution that exists to make a profit at the expense of those who offered their lives for the protection of their country. Let us protect them from these educational institution vultures.

  2. jake    

    I do support this, I just want people to know about the school I went to RSI in Arizona and in order to attend school there I had to take out a student loan,so you have the his bill and a loan that’s not right

  3. Dave Duncan    

    My son and daughter are Chap 35, I am 100% Disabled and he has had nothing but problems with his checks , he also does work study and then they screw that up too and there is no one for him to contact. It is a total disconnect between the student and the system or maybe it is worse when it is the child of a Vet and they know they can play them. Either way it is stressful, because I sure don’t make enough to supplement my child in school when he is missing his funds. If you have not noticed the rates are high. Maybe they should also ensure a good relationship between the counselors at the VA and the student , because the ones at the schools are in it for the schools many times. At a four year school it tends to be better controlled and maintained. We have had a smooth run about 80% of the time , but as everyone in the military knows , that is borderline failure. Too many errors. I love what the VA has done for my kids , but being 100% I can’t do but so much and I still have to contribute my money to their school. Is that the way it was supposed to work for our service. I think not.

  4. David    

    I am very glad to see this step taken to push out the predatory schools. I used to work for one of the so called “military friendly” online schools that is based in San Diego with a physical school in Iowa (I won’t mention the name of the school here but I am sure those who know will figure it out). I was paid to ensure military active or veterans enrolled in the program that cost 6 to 8 times more than community colleges or other major universities. I was told to express that the school was so far superior than other schools out there including such notables as Notre Dame and USC. Their so called training program was nothing more than a Sleazy Used Car Salesman training and those who lied and cheated to get students to enroll were rewarded with promotions and big paychecks. Those like me who were honest and actual advised students in their best interest would be fired because we were not “suckering” enough students into the program that is about worth as much as the paper the degree is printed on. I only hope that eventually schools like them will lose their Federal money including GI Bill or TA, they don’t deserve it and they NEVER had the best interest of the student in mind..only THE SHAREHOLDERS!.

  5. Chieftac    

    Yeah, that’s what I need Obama and his minions telling me what to do, because they are SOOOOOO smart. He has made a bag economy worse, his wife is trying to tell me how to be a parent and what I can and Can’t feed my kids. His DOJ is giving guns to the Mexican war lords, and trying to keep honest people from being able to buy them, His education folks can’t teach most 8th graders to read, I could go on…..yeah this isn’t the guy i want making my life decisions.

  6. Dust81    

    I’m so glad to see this happened I just wish it would of happened sooner. I graduated in march from a forprofit school and I got screwed. They promise you everything and give you nothing. All for profit schools are about getting butts in sets so everyone at the school makes a profit.

  7. Derrick Smith    

    Why is it that the G.I. Bill is only good for 10yrs.after you get out? I got out in 1991,I did not
    know this,but you can not get your 1,200 back,so were dose this money go, I feel that if you do not use the G.I. BILL you should get your money back that you payed in boot camp.

    1. Xavier    

      I am sorry, how did you not know? they tell you that all the time…and with the post 9/11 bill the time has been increased. Go back in the military and get your GI bill again is all I can say.

  8. Nicole    

    If you are truly considering law school, I would look into the poor unemployment rates that newly minted lawyers are facing.

  9. Bert    

    How about Veteran’s Academy? You’ve got the Air Force Academy, West Point, Annapolis, and probably other places where officers get their training, and they’re 4-year schools and all that, so…if you want to economically and effectively instruct a steady flow of people leaving the service, do so in a centralized model, The Government spends ungodly hundreds of billions of dollars on everything else, so, build a ‘super-campus’ someplace, whose ONLY job is to instruct prior service military, accredited, accountable, basically operated by the VA, free room and board, billets, and handling everything from certifications through 8-year degrees, with the military paying your tuition through the first four.

    Then, expand it to include online ed, just like with Khan academy.

    What to call it? Maybe, ‘School Of The Soldier’, something along those lines, or Veteran’s Academy, or something along those lines, have a naming contest, but utilize available resources to the best possible effect, use current/former officers and military trainers, veterans themselves, educating and instructing other veterans, with civilian instructors recruited on an as-needed basis to help support the effort to get as many people through the process. But, ‘all under one roof’, with online offerings available to vets.

    Finally, post ‘the books’ online, so there’s no question about money, ever again. And, if vets choose to attend another school other than Veteran’s Academy, provide some mandatory instruction on the perils and pitfalls of attending courses at for-profit educational institutions.

    But, get it ‘all under one tent’, efficiency, proficiency, excellence being the keywords.

    1. Kevin Jones    

      @Bert,

      The problem with your idea is that servicemembers need time to acculturate back to the civilian world after leaving the military. Higher education is one of the best places to do that, offering an education while giving veterans time to re-adjust to civilian society. It’s already bad enough that military personnel are looked at as separate from the rest of society (i.e. by calling them “Warriors” and telling them they’re better than the rest of America), keeping them segregated after they get out and sending them to a “veterans only” college would only exacerbate the problem.

      1. Jimmy Wesley    

        @ Bert and Kevin

        I believe this idea’s great, as this academy would have access to a soldier’s records, capabilities, and training to appropriately guide them to their next career path without compromising their disabilities. Meanwhile, having a campus big enough to accomodate all these educational needs to obtain decent paying jobs flourishing in various markets. Furthermore, the site should also have a resource center for those about to obtain their degree, so that the Veterans can be hand shook to their next employer of choice. Lastly, this academy should be located in an erea of high economy, so that they can enjoy being alive and be rewarded for being an outstanding citizen before as a soldier and now as a student with a higher education. These degrees should be met with high standards and qualifications, so that all companies shall recognize any Graduate Student, as having a valid and highly recommended education!

      2. Dust81    

        Civilians do that to us and I have never been told I’m better than anyone. Your an idiot. Last I checked there where no veterans only school. I believe your talking about public schools last I check they are open to anyone.

    2. Xavier    

      Great idea, but you know they will not commit to something like that for veterans. That would mean they would have to take away from their defense budget or something and that isn’t going to happen. I like that idea though…A school just for Veterans, run by veterans. That would be awesome!

  10. Keith    

    In addition to graduation rate info, I would suggest Veterans have ready access to school accreditation information. Many for profit schools pay for accreditation from for profit organizations created by the schools which may be simpler to say, they bought their cred from themselves.

    Want good accred? Look for accred from the regional accrediting bodies recognized by the US Dept of Education. Want the best accred? In addition to accred from regional colleges and schools, seek institutions that are accredited by professional groups. If you want to be a nurse, pick a school accredited by nurses. It is critical info for your future success, particularly if you plan to be certified or licensed in your profession.

  11. Jimmy Wesley    

    Finally, schools being held accountable for what they are offering and not telling you that they degree will not get you a job in the market being taught. “Oh-that was a failed project,” I was told in reply to my question of why there are Veterans sitting in his Masters classes without jobs with degrees that had an unknown empty job market, this statement by the President of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University taking a drink after his speech at his Annual Visit in Long Beach in 2011. Just prior to ending that speech, he stated 100% of our students, get a job in their field within 1 year of graduation. Come to find out, the school has no program to hand shake it’s #1 in the World Aeronautical graduate students, in fact the school’s hidden main focus is in Engineering, which is only located in Daytona Beach, FL. However, they target military members and Veterans across the Globe and at nearly every Air Force Base, wasting the Government’s and Students money and time. I say this, because they give false hopes of a better life on the outside with their degree, not informing us that the jobs are in engineering and those classes aren’t taught where we are, and that the degrees being taught have a slimming and very narrow job market. I am 2 classes away from completing my Masters in Business Administration in Aviation and still do not have a job in my field, coming out of the military as a Sr. Satellite Technician with 11 1/2 years Active Duty.

  12. Mike    

    This effort will be a great tool to help weed out the scammers. In addition to the graduation rate, I would like to see the institution’s placement rate of graduates. That’s what really counts. If a Vet could compare the overall cost of the school with what percentage of graduates are actually working and their average starting salary, this would give a “Bang for your buck” comparison.

  13. Candice Fitzpatrick    

    I am graduating this June with my bachelor’s in Business Management, I found that my VA rep at my college was incredibly helpful. I think that the vets have to be accountable and “do their homework” before signing up to any institution, it’s good to know that the VA is also double checking as well. My next challenge will be to find a job in this market, but I may just use up all my GIBill and go to Law School.

  14. margaret    

    My College forgot to do paper work for new semister with new rules my check just got cancel and told need repay the money. I am still in school full time. but because this rule I AM SCREW

  15. Scott    

    Its about time they do something more to stop people from scamming those of us who have given so much to our country. I wish they would do more to stop the financial institutions and brokers that send me an my wife false advertisements claiming to be a department of the VA or a preferred partner of the VA to trick us into refinancing our mortgages with or through them. They love to add VA, Veteran, or Veteran Affairs in the title of their companies name to make them sound legit. My wife and I get at least 6 a month, our record month we received 17 of them and they try to make the “hybrid” and other variable rate loans sound like the best deals veterans can lock into. These types of loans are the same ones that caused the collapse of the housing market and made manageable mortgage payments grow far beyond the financial means of the homeowners and caused them to loose their homes, some lost everything they had. Its about time something is done about this, or we are going to see the same thing happen over and over.

    1. eddie    

      This has to be stopped by contacting the local government instituations who get paid everytime some asks for information on local veterans. The county or state recieves money for providing this information.

  16. Judith    

    God Bless and protect the veterans. My uncle was a veteran. When he died. He had been put in a Nursing Home. I feel that the Nursing Home was not qualified to care for him the proper way. I really wanted to take him home with me. I couldn’t. They just give him drugs. They didn’t give him therapy. I am sorry but some of these Nursing Homes. They are just out for the money. So please. Do the right thing for our Veterans. They have served our country. Now is our turn to serve them.

  17. Spencer Kimball    

    I work with fellow veterans everyday and I will be very honest and say we need more veterans to understand the different Chapter Benefits and stop pressing too much on the schools to do this or that. At the end of the day it is the veteran’s benefit and not a schools job to tell them what it will and won’t do.

    1. Rob    

      I agree!!! Also why do we need to add more programs and red tape like “Know Before You Owe”. If the school is a yellow ribbon school, doesnt the amount over the VA allowed get split between the School and VA?

    2. Terry Williams    

      That is so thoughtful of you Spencer. NOT! If you feel veterans should know more then teach them. Veterans know what is and what isn’t “At the end of the day” We don’t need you to remind us. However, we are not trained as school counselors and so we go to them seeking knowledge and guidance. Once we learn what we are able to do and what is available to us we will stop asking for help from people whose job it is to give us help. Since you work with fellow veterans everday, maybe it would be nice for you to learn something from them, such as teamwork and loyalty. instead of being so condesending, maybe you should be more helpful and uplifting.

      1. Jessica    

        Terry, you are actually not making sense. You are saying that Spencer should teach Veterans that don’t know, then you are saying that Veterans do know, then you are saying that they don’t becuase they aren’t “School counselors”. Truth is, the VA system is very difficult to navigate and even the brightest of people have problems doing so. Spencer’s post was not about what we can or cannot learn from Veterans, it is about helping Veterans navigate a very complicated system. “Strong and intelligent” is not doing something on your own. It is knowing when you need help, and having the strength to ask for it. this bill will definitely help Veteran’s in their educational agenda. Terry, if you ever find yourself needing help, you can call too. 1800-461-8262. OR 1800-273-8255

        1. Terry Williams    

          Ms. Jessica, I have no need for your help, but I thank you for the offer. My point is that I am tired of people saying that Vets should know more or do more when the truth is that the vets can only know more when they are taught. To tell me or any other vet that we should know more about something that we don’t know is silly. As to my not making sense, I guess from where you stand I don’t . As Spencer would say, at the end of the day I’m fine with that.

      2. kbronz    

        Terry, I have to agree. It is not the veteran’s job to know the school counselor’s job. I am a veteran AND a university counselor. It is MY JOB to teach my students what is available for financing, and what the results will be for using said financing options. To say that the veteran should know everything about the education process is tantamount to saying he should be able to tell the surgeon how to fix a hernia because he knows EVERYTHING. The steps that the White House is taking are steps the ANY good university counselor ALREADY takes to ensure that the military AND civilian students are properly informed about their education, and what EVERY school should already provide to all it’s students, on campus or online.

    3. Xavier    

      Why as the veteran is it my responsibility to know what school is what. In order to receive benefits from the government they have to basically be registered with the government to accept vets. How about the government be more watchful about who they let have status to accept Vets and their benefits. We as veterans have other things to do than wonder if this school is legit or not. If we go to a school and they say they accept VA benefits, that’s where we stop. Of course we would be stupid to think that the government is watching out for us…What was I thinking…They don’t do it when we are active duty, why would they do it when we become Vets….

  18. jon    

    this is great! Cant wait to see the number of vets that dont complete programs because of schools look at vets as $$$$$.

    1. Daisy Rodriguez    

      I definitely agree with this! I am very happy to hear that Veterans will be treated with a lot more respect. I work for the VA at my job, and I will personally push myself to be on top of the most current and well-deserved, additional benefits our VA students can get. They definitely deserve it after serving our country so well! I am looking forward to this project at Independence University, in SLC, UT.

    2. afvet    

      This is GREAT…finally the schools will be forced to bill and account properly. Yellow ribbon was only a start in the right direction, but seriously flawed. VA benefits are complex to understand and so are the schools biz processes. In either case with zero accountability the process breaks down and the vet is the one under served.

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