President Obama, in his weekly address (which you can watch here), talked about a new executive order signed on Friday meant to curb the predatory practices of for-profit colleges towards veterans. He said:
The sad truth is that there are people out there who are less interested in helping our men and women in uniform get ahead and more interested in making a buck. They bombard potential students with emails and pressure them into making a quick decision. Some of them steer recruits towards high-interest loans and mislead them about credit transfers and job placement programs. One of the worst examples was a college recruiter who visited a Marine barracks and enrolled Marines with brain injuries so severe that some of them couldn’t recall what courses the recruiter had signed them up for.
The new executive order requires institutions to provide veterans with “Know Before You Owe” factsheets on student loans and provide extra counseling. It also places restrictions on aggressive recruitment by these colleges.
For-profit institutions tend to target veterans because of something known as the “90-10” rule, which states that ten percent of the revenue of colleges and universities like this must come from sources that are not federal aid. Funds from the GI Bill, however, can be counted in that ten percent, which means that these institutions actively and aggressively seek out veterans.
Embedded above is the first, roughly twenty minute, segment of a PBS Frontline documentary investigation from last June, called “Educating Sergeant Pantzke,” which explains how about a third of GI Bill benefits end up “in the pockets of the for-profit sector.” It’s an important documentary… watch the full hour-long program here.
[Transcript; CBS; PBS]