Some of the nation’s largest veterans and military organizations sent letters last week to the Veterans Affairs Department asking it to crack down on colleges that prey on veterans by charging exorbitant fees for degrees that mostly fail to deliver promised skills and jobs.
The letters were signed by top officials at the American Legion, the National Military Family Association, the Military Officers Association of America and nearly 20 other groups. They called on the department to improve its oversight of colleges that have engaged in deceptive recruiting and other illicit practices but that continue to receive millions in funding under the G.I. Bill.
“We encourage you” to take steps against the dozen or so colleges facing “federal and state action for deceiving students,” one of the letters says.
The career training and for-profit college industry has been accused in recent years of exploiting veterans, poor people and minorities. Veterans are an especially enticing target because, under a loophole in federal law, money from the G.I. Bill does not count against a cap on federal funding to for-profit schools.
The Veterans Affairs Department has traditionally done little to police the for-profit college industry despite handing more than $1.7 billion for the 2012-13 school year to for-profit colleges. A 2014 Senate report found that seven of the eight for-profit college operators that received the most money from the department were under investigation by state or federal authorities for misleading recruiting practices or other violations of federal law.
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