Obama Signs Order to Protect Veterans from For-Profits

President Obama has signed an executive order to protect veterans from being swindled by for-profit educational institutions.

“You’re dealing with folks who aren’t interested in helping you. They’re not interested in helping you find the best program.

They are interested in getting the money. They don’t care about you; they care about the cash,” he said. “That’s appalling. That’s disgraceful. It should never happen in America.”

The order will require colleges which participate in the Department of Defense’s tuition program and the G.I. Bill program to properly detail to prospective veteran students the financial aid available to them and how much debt they are likely to be taking on, via the provision of the ‘Know Before You Owe’ form.

President Obama was speaking at Fort Stewart, Georgia, in front of thousands of uniformed service members. He promised them that the order would make their lives more secure.

“This is an important victory of behalf of our young service members and veterans who, in seeking to better themselves educationally, have been wrongly and unconscionably victimized by some institutions who see America’s finest as nothing more than a vulnerable market,” American Legion National Commander Fang A. Wong said.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, aggressive targeting of veterans has become a problem because education benefits from the GI Bill count towards the 10% non-governmental funding requirement to which for-profit schools must adhere.

Senator Kay R. Hagan, writing in the Herald-Sun, points out that this abuse of funding laws means that some for-profits are almost entirely government funded and spend 23% of their budgets on advertising, marketing and recruitment.

She refers to the case of a North Carolina man promised by recruiters that he would receive enough federal aid to cover his courses and become a certified teacher. However soon after enrollment he was presented with a bill he couldn’t pay and which was swiftly handed off to a collection agency.

While for-profit schools advocates are unhappy at what they see as an unnecessary attack on the free market system, just this week two former deans of Globe University/Minnesota School of Business have filed lawsuits claiming they were fired after expressing concern over falsified job-placement rates. Heidi Weber was dean of the medical assistant program and Jeanne St. Claire was dean of business.

The St. Paul resident “notified management that Globe would not meet accreditation standards if the accreditation agency … was made aware of the problems,” the suit says. St. Claire was “instructed ‘no one is going to be telling [the agency] about these issues,'” according to the suit.

St. Claire was fired soon after refusing to withhold the information from the accreditation agency, the lawsuit alleges.

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