November 11, 2013 by Latasha Myers
While we celebrate service members’ valor today on Veterans’ Day, we must also ensure that the men and women who protect our nation are able to pursue a valuable degree and worthwhile education at home. Yet, many for-profit colleges have preyed on military personnel— to acquire access to their federal educational benefits — and are luring them into enrolling at colleges that may not offer them the best education.
Fortunately, some members of Congress are pushing legislation to curtail further abuses.
U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced a bill last Wednesday that would help put an end to the for-profit industry’s predatory recruitment practices of veterans, service members, and their families who receive federal education funds. Current federal legislation says that for-profit colleges cannot receive more than 90% of their revenue from federal education dollars. In other words, these companies have to receive at least 10% of their revenue from other, non-federal sources. However, a loophole in legislation does not count federal tax dollars from the Post 9/11 GI Bill and Department of Defense tuition assistance programs as part of a school’s 90/10 percentages. The Protecting Our Students and Taxpayers (POST) Act would eliminate this loophole allowing for-profit companies to receive more than 90% of their revenue from the federal government.
The bill will change the 90/10 ratio to 85/15 and close the current loophole by changing the definition of what counts as federal revenue so that it includes all federal funds, including military education benefits. This will help ensure that veterans and taxpayers’ dollars are not wasted on a worthless degree. Congress needs to act now to pass this bill.
For profit colleges only enroll about 12 percent of all college students in the United States, but they account for almost half of all student loan defaults. By not counting all federal tax dollars as "federal funds", the current loophole in policy gives for-profit colleges an incentive to aggressively recruit veterans. Unfortunately, they don’t have a similar incentive to offer them a high-quality education, so many end up with no degree and mounds of debt.
Sign our petition to tell members of the U.S. Senate to support the POST ACT. The cost of college is too high and our veterans’ sacrifices are too large to allow for-profit college companies to take advantage of them.