JONES WORKS TO PROTECT VETERANS FROM PREDATORY FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES

Dec 13, 2017 Issues: Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC  –  This week, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) joined Representatives Jackie Speier (CA-14) and Mark Takano (CA-41) and reintroduced the bipartisan Military and Veterans Education Protection Act. This legislation would close the ‘90/10 loophole’ that continues to allow for-profit colleges to aggressively target veterans and servicemembers while wasting billions of dollars in taxpayer funds.

“Our veterans sacrifice so much and put their lives on the line to defend this country,” said Congressman Jones. “For-profit educational institutions that take advantage of our veterans and Defense Department education funds are guilty of a double wrong: robbing veterans of a chance at a true education, and taking advantage of taxpayers.  For the benefit of veterans and taxpayers, it’s time for Congress to close the ‘90/10 loophole.’”

“For these schools it’s all about the money, not the quality of education or bettering the lives of those who have put their lives on the line in defense of our freedoms,” Congresswoman Speier said. “ITT Tech and Corinthian Colleges, who together received over $1 billion in taxpayer funds, suddenly went bankrupt and closed after years of substandard performance. Their students were left in the lurch, with their only recourse an onerous and uncertain loan forgiveness process. The Military and Veterans Education Protection Act will require these colleges to receive 10 percent of their funds from non-federal sources, which will finally put a stop to predatory for-profit colleges that squander taxpayer money and prey on veterans, servicemembers, and their families.”

“Bad actors in the for-profit education industry have repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to seek profits at the expense of veterans and taxpayers,” said Congressman Takano. “Given the recent expansion of the GI Bill benefits available to those who serve, our responsibility to protect veterans from deceptive and fraudulent schools is greater than ever. This legislation is an important step toward ensuring that student veterans attend institutions that deliver on the promise of quality instruction and meaningful job opportunities.” 

“Student Veterans of America (SVA) has been committed to closing the 90/10 loophole since 2011,” said William Hubbard, VP of Government Affairs for the Student Veterans of America. “Prospective and current student veterans remain the target of predatory programs that deliver a low-quality education. We remain committed to transparency in higher education and helping student veterans become informed consumers. SVA supports closing this loophole and is pleased to be working with Congress to make that a reality.”

“Higher education provides the opportunity for military-connected students to gain the training necessary for a seamless transition into the civilian workforce and improve the socioeconomic standing of their families. With 67% of military-connected students being first-generation, low income, minority, and other underserved student populations, the GI Bill, Tuition Assistance, and other military education benefits reduce barriers that might otherwise keep them from attaining their education and career goals,” said Tanya Ang, Director of Policy and Outreach for Veterans Education Success. “While we believe it is imperative military-connected students are empowered to make well informed decisions prior to them starting their pursuit of higher education, VES also believes certain accountability measures must be in place to protect them from predatory institutions. That is why we support this bipartisan bill that protects military-connected students and tax payer money.”

“Just as the Military Order of the Purple Heart fights to expand veterans' educational opportunities as we did with the recently passed Forever GI Bill, we must also make sure that those opportunities are of the highest quality possible,” said Neil Van Ess, National Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. “Closing the 90/10 loophole would be a big step toward achieving that goal, and we thank Senator Carper for introducing this important legislation.”

“The 90/10 loophole allows predatory schools to take advantage of the benefits survivors’ loved ones served and died for,” said Ashlynne Haycock, Manager for Education Services for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). “Just like veterans, surviving family members have been taken advantage of by institutions of higher learning that want access to their educational benefits, only to be left with useless degrees and nontransferable credits. If a school is not doing anything morally wrong, they should not object to the closure of the loophole. We must close the loophole to help ensure that surviving families and veterans have access to the highest quality education. These families have already sacrificed so much for this country, they should never be taken advantage of, and should be given every opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

The following organizations are supporting the Military and Veterans Education Protection Act: American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Student Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America , Veterans Education Success, VetsFirst, VetJobs, Blue Star Families, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Military Officers Association of America, Military Child Education Coalition, Veterans for Common Sense, Non Commissioned Officers Association, High Ground Veterans Advocacy, AMVETS, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Wounded Warrior Project, The Retired Enlisted Association, Got Your Six, National Guard Association of the United States, Association of the United States Navy, Naval Enlisted Reserve Association, Non Commissioned Officers Association, National Military Family Association, Swords to Plowshares, Air Force Association, Air Force Sergeants Association.

Background:
• The 90/10 rule was passed more than 20 years ago, under President George H.W. Bush, to limit the amount of federal funding for-profit schools could receive from taxpayer funds. It requires for-profit schools to obtain at least 10 percent of their revenues from non-federal sources. However, a loophole in the law excludes Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DOD) education funds, like the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Tuition Assistance (TA), from being counted as federal funds.

• For-profit colleges should demonstrate their quality by securing at least 10 percent of their revenues from non-federal sources. By properly counting VA and DOD educational benefits as federal dollars, the Military and Veterans Education Protection Act restores the bipartisan intent of Congress that no for-profit school should receive 100 percent of their revenues from taxpayers.

Serving America’s veterans is one of Congressman Jones’ highest priorities.  Over the past 12 years, Congressman Jones has cosponsored more bills to help veterans than any other member of Congress.

For additional information, please contact Allison Tucker in Congressman Walter Jones’ office at Allison.tucker@mail.house.gov or (202) 225-3415.

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