April 27th, 2012
10:41 AM ET
President Obama wants to crack down on for-profit colleges his administration says deceptively recruit post-9/11 veterans with false promises of lucrative careers.
The president will travel to Fort Stewart in Georgia Friday where he will unveil a new executive order aimed at forcing schools to be more transparent in their recruitment and marketing efforts.
While 9/11 GI Bill federal loans can be used at private, public, and for-profit schools alike, a recent Senate Committee report found eight of the ten largest recipients of GI Bill loans are for-profit schools. According to the report, for-profit colleges heavily recruit ex-service members with misleading military-themed websites that falsely suggest the federal funds can only be used at their schools. The Senate report also found the average dropout rate at these schools hovers around forty percent.
In the Executive Order the president will announce Friday, all schools who market to veterans will be required to be more transparent about the educational opportunities they provide and likely career placement outcomes. The Department of Defense will also be tasked with setting forth rules on how schools are permitted to recruit service members on military bases while the Department of Veterans Affairs will crack down on the school’s deceptive websites specifically targeted to military members.
The executive order also mandates better financial aid and academic advising to enrolled veterans and a centralized complaint system for veterans who feel their school has defrauded them.
The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, a group that represents for-profit schools, is sharply criticizing the executive order.
"The fact is that the vast majority of private sector schools provide curriculum and training that prepares our men and women in uniform for successful careers in civilian life,” APSCU CEO Steve Gunderson said. “We are committed to veterans and their education, and for this reason we joined with veterans service organizations in a letter to Congress for programs enhancing pre-academic counseling, and the development of a vehicle for individual complaints or concerns by veteran students."