Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says some large corporate-owned colleges are actively recruiting and taking advantage of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Harkin says the schools have found a way to use a technicality in the law to siphon billions of dollars from the federal government using the GI Bill, and in the process, they’re mistreating and duping returning troops.
“While these for-profit schools educate approximately ten-percent of the students, they receive almost 25-percent of total financial aid,” Harkin says, “and they account for about 50-percent of all student loan defaults.” Harkin was joined at today’s Washington, D.C. media conference by a veteran who had enrolled at a trade school in Texas he’d seen advertised on T.V.
He says he was continually promised his expenses would be paid by the Post-9/11 version of the GI Bill, only to be left on the hook for thousands of dollars in tuition costs. Harkin says it’s deplorable. Harkin says, “Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have become especially vulnerable to being recruited into high-cost, low-quality, for-profit colleges.”
Harkin says the federal government last year pumped 30-billion dollars into student aid at for-profit schools. He says some of those schools have found a way to exploit a rule loophole to use veterans to fulfill their statutory academic regulations.
Harkin says, “We’re here this morning to release important new data, further evidence that as a result of this rule, Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans and their family members have become unique recruiting targets of these for-profit schools.” Harkin says to learn about how for-profit recruiting works, look to the website “www.militaryfriendlyschools.com“.
He says the site lists so-called military-friendly schools based on how aggressively they recruit veterans, not on whether the veterans graduate or get jobs. Harkin says the original GI Bill made it possible for millions of veterans returning from World War Two to go to college and get ahead in life.
During the Vietnam era, Harkin used the GI Bill to go to law school after he served five years in the Navy. He calls the GI Bill “one of the federal government’s smartest investments.” Now, he says, Congress needs to act to ensure veterans who use the benefits get a quality education.