IAVA Launches Aggressive Campaign to “Defend the New GI Bill,” Protect Student Veterans from Predatory For-Profit Schools

IAVA Launches Aggressive Campaign to “Defend the New GI Bill,” Protect Student Veterans from Predatory For-Profit Schools

CONTACT: Michelle McCarthy (212) 982-9699 or michelle@iava.org

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

IAVA Launches Aggressive Campaign to “Defend the New GI Bill,” Protect Student Veterans from Predatory For-Profit Schools

New Public Service Announcement Calls on Congress to Close GI Bill Loophole Exploited by For-Profit Schools

NEW YORK – Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the nation’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, unveiled an ambitious new campaign – Defend the New GI Bill – warning new veterans and their spouses about predatory for-profit colleges who are targeting their GI Bill benefits.  Since June 2008, when IAVA spearheaded passage of the historic Post-9/11 GI Bill, over 750,000 new veterans, their spouses and children have taken advantage of its benefits. Due to a loophole in the current legislation, however, the New GI Bill is under siege by some for-profit institutions that are gouging veterans’ benefits and government funds without delivering the quality education, training and career services that they promised. Anchored by a new Public Service Announcement, IAVA’s Defend the New GI Bill campaign seeks to increase transparency and reporting from these higher learning institutions, so student veterans and spouses understand their options, maximize their GI Bill benefits and receive the career-ready education that they earned. Watch the PSA at DefendtheNewGIBill.org.

“Education is the single best tool that veterans have to level the playing field in this tough job market. Nearly 750,000 veterans and family members have utilized the New GI Bill to gain critical education and training for the civilian workforce. IAVA is committed to ensuring that each and every one of them can maximize their benefits, especially with IAVA members nationwide facing a 17 percent unemployment rate. IAVA refuses to allow predatory for-profit colleges to gouge the New GI Bill and pad their pockets at the expense of our nation’s veterans,” said IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff.

“Due to a loophole in the law, for-profit schools can rake in an extra $125,000 in taxpayer dollars for every veteran they enroll. But they have no incentive to graduate them. The major for-profit schools are reporting a nearly 70% dropout rate, they’re aggressively targeting and misleading new veterans, and then failing to deliver solid return on investment. IAVA fought hard to secure the New GI Bill for our community and to expand it to 400,000 more veterans in 2010. We call on Congress and the President to protect the New GI Bill and all career-ready education programs for veterans. No veteran should return home from Iraq or Afghanistan a target of these deceptive schools and practices.”

According to a report from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, eight of the top 10 recipients of New GI Bill funding are for-profit schools. Some of these schools are taking advantage of veterans in four main areas:

  • For-profit schools have higher dropout rates. An estimated 67% of students at most major for-profit schools never graduate from their programs.
  • A greater percentage of students at for-profit schools default on loans. For-profits schools represent 13% of all college students but almost half of all student loan defaults.
  • For profit-schools are more expensive but don’t all provide a return on investment. For-profit schools typically cost two to four times more than public universities and community colleges. For-profits capture more than a third of all GI benefits – about $1.6 billion – but enroll only a quarter of veterans. Some schools often don’t provide students with useful degrees, career training or transferable credits.
  • For-profit schools aggressively target veterans through a loophole in the 90/10 rule. The original intent of the 90/10 rule was to allow free market regulation of for-profit schools by preventing them from being entirely government funded. The rule states that 90% of for-profit school revenue may come from government funds; 10% must come from private sources. Military and veterans benefits like the GI Bill currently fall within that 10% of private source revenue, putting a target on every veteran’s back. For each veteran that a for-profit school recruits, they can enroll nine more students using federal financial aid.

IAVA supports the following legislation to address the loophole in the 90/10 and prevent predatory for-profit schools from using government funds to deceptively market to and recruit student veterans. For a complete list of legislation supported by IAVA, click here.

If you’re a veteran considering attending school, watch IAVA’s new PSA Defend the New GI Bill first. Enrolled or completed courses at a for-profit college program but feel that you or someone you know have been taken advantage of? Click here to share your story with IAVA and explore financial resources for assistance.

To learn more about IAVA’s concrete recommendations to protect career-ready education and combat veteran unemployment, read IAVA’s 2012 Policy Agenda.

If you are a member of the media who wishes to arrange an interview with IAVA Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff, Deputy Policy Director Tom Tarantino, or an IAVA Member impacted by a predatory for-profit school, please contact Michelle McCarthy at (212) 982-9699 or michelle@iava.org.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the country’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 200,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Its mission is to improve the lives of this country’s newest generation of veterans and their families.


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