President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order on April 27 that would further protect the GI Bill and stifle the use of deceptive marketing and recruiting practices towards military veterans and their families by for-profit institutions.
The Obama Administration has sparred with higher education for-profit institutions and college lenders – namely Stafford lately, with the intent to protect students from over-burdensome debts and fraudulent recruiting tactics.
The order also claims to create a new gauge for how students can calculate the eventual cost of tuition and fees for schools.
The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities issued a statement criticizing the President’s recent move against for-profit education.
“APSCU is disappointed that in the midst of these discussions, the President decided to bypass the Congress to address these issues with an Executive Order,” Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of APSCU, said in the organization’s statement, April 27. “Despite today’s deeply unfortunate development, private sector schools remain committed to continuing to work with the White House, Congress and veteran service organizations toward the improvement of military- and veteran-education, and will continue to focus on preparing students to enter and succeed in the 21st century workforce.”
The Obama Administration, the Department of Education, APSCU, and other interested groups have worked together over the past few years to temper the negative impact of some “bad acts” in the for-profit institutions. Through those negotiations, new “gainful employment” regulations will take place July 1, which will place more stringent rules on all higher education institutions.
The Student Veterans of America has applauded the efforts of the Obama Administration to reign in the aggressive and, at times, deceptive recruiting tactics by these institutions.
“Student Veterans of America has been working diligently with the White House, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, and the Department of Veterans Affairs to address the issue of deceptive and misleading marketing practices,” said Michael Dakduk, Executive Director for Student Veterans of America, in the association’s press release. “We have called for more transparency at institutions of higher learning; consumer education; trademarking the term GI Bill and related phrases; better data collection on student veteran graduation and retention rates; a complaint center to support veterans who have been deceived; and generally more support from the federal government and institutions of higher learning.”
Obama is currently trying to get the term “GI Bill” trademarked to keep it from being used by recruiters as an enticement to potential military students.
Congress, including two Democrat Senators, Tom Harkin (Iowa) and Kay Hagan (N.C.), added to the pinpointing of for-profit institutions after recently presenting new legislation to stop the institutions from using tax-payer dollars to pay for its marketing budgets.
Gunderson said the private sector colleges and universities are the main choice of military veterans and their families because of their flexibility and “focused academic delivery” which meets veterans’ needs.
“America’s private sector colleges and universities have long taken great pride in serving our nation’s military personnel,” he said in the statement. “Today, over 230,000 veterans, spouses, and their dependents have chosen to continue their education on the Post-9/11 GI Bill at our institutions. Two-thirds of the active-duty military and two-thirds of their spouses and dependents have also chosen to pursue their education through our institutions.”
-Dustin Bass, @dbass_cmn