WASHINGTON- This morning, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Rep. Mark Takano (D-Cali.) commended the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense as they unveiled their new complaint intake website for student veterans who feel that they have been deceived, abused, or otherwise taken advantage of by colleges.
“I believe we have a moral imperative to ensure that those who have sacrificed for our country obtain the best education possible, one that will equip them with the skills they need to find a good job, repay their college loans, and go on to live productive lives,” said Chairman Tom Carper. “That’s why we must focus on how we can fix problems within the higher education system and encourage all schools to deliver a higher quality education to our military and veteran populations. This common-sense initiative will give our service members and veterans who have been subjected to questionable recruitment practices, deceptive marketing, and substandard educational instruction an opportunity to share their experiences in an effort to curb these unacceptable and abusive tactics.”
Rep. Takano said, “I am very pleased to see the VA and DOD take up this issue. Many for-profit colleges specifically target veterans, using aggressive recruitment tactics that intentionally invoke pain and fear to pressure veterans into enrolling. This website will provide a space for our student veterans to report these abuses.”
Investigations into for-profit colleges have found massive amounts of waste, fraud, and abuse in the industry, including deceptive and aggressive recruiting of students, false or inflated job placement rates, and dismal completion rates. According to a report by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions, for-profit colleges spend more of their budget on marketing and recruitment – 22.7 percent – than on student instruction – 17.2 percent.
This complaint intake website was created as a result of President Obama’s Executive order 13607. The Executive Order also requires the VA to act on each complaint, to share those complaints with law enforcement, and to conduct a risk-based audit of the school if the complaint is serious or if enough complaints are made about the school.
President Obama said of that Executive Order, “We’re going to bring an end to the aggressive – and sometimes dishonest – recruiting that takes place. We’re going to up our oversight of improper recruitment practices. We’re going to strengthen the rules about who can come on post and talk to servicemembers. And we’re going to make it a lot easier for all of you to file complaints and for us to take action when somebody is not acting right.”
The website can be accessed through the Department of Defense website or through the GI Bill website.