In 2012, President Barack Obama banned deceptive and aggressive recruiting tactics by for-profit colleges, so the University of Phoenix instead sponsors events at military bases to woo veterans – and their GI Bill money – to its educational programs.
The GI Bill does not require schools to be accredited. The loophole is meant to allow veterans to attend trade schools, but Reveal has found 2,000 schools cashing in, including ones that teach scuba diving, dog grooming and yoga.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has reduced its chronic backlog of veterans’ disability claims, but so far, the agency is struggling to meet its self-imposed deadline of eliminating long wait times by 2015.
Using Veterans Day as a backdrop, the Obama administration announced its support for a bill that seeks to rein in for-profit schools that prey on veterans and military personnel eligible for the GI Bill and military tuition assistance programs.
Sen. John McCain stood by the University of Phoenix after the Defense Department put it on probation, claiming that the move was orchestrated by a lawmaker who has a record of not supporting the military. But the Arizona senator has been criticized for his own actions on veterans issues.
Veterans groups and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who have pressed for wider inquiries into for-profit schools, are defending the Defense Department’s decision to withhold new tuition assistance money from the University of Phoenix because of violations of military rules.
The Defense Department is reviewing a response from the University of Phoenix to the military’s decision to ban its recruiters from military facilities and suspend it from enrolling more military personnel under the tuition assistance program, even as Republican senators came to the for-profit school’s defense.
Executives of the parent company of the University of Phoenix attempted to regain investor confidence this morning amid plummeting stock prices and ongoing scrutiny from state and federal officials investigating the for-profit school’s recruiting practices.
Veterans groups are urging the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to follow the Defense Department’s lead in stemming the flow of federal education funds to the University of Phoenix.
The Department of Defense said it would suspend the University of Phoenix from federal tuition assistance programs and bar school officials from recruiting at military facilities after revelations of improper recruiting and marketing practices by the for-profit school.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has vowed to increase scrutiny of unaccredited schools that received federal funds through the GI Bill and to review state criteria that allow the financial benefit for such schools.