U.S. Launches New Complaint System for Student Veterans

On Thursday, the federal government announced the launch of a new online complaint system that will make it easier for veterans, members of the armed services, and their families to report problems with colleges that receive funds from veteran and military education benefits programs.

The announcement follows a 2012 executive order by President Obama that outlined a set of "principles of excellence" for those institutions, including that they provide more information to veterans. The order also directed the federal government to take steps to stop deceptive practices aimed at veterans by institutions that receive funds from federal programs like the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The online reporting system, which is modeled after one in place at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), is one such step, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported.

"The online complaint system empowers veterans and their dependents and provides them a direct line to VA and our partner agencies," VA Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey said in a statement, "The feedback we receive from veterans, servicemembers and their families will help us strengthen enforcement . . . to ensure students are receiving the education benefits they have earned and deserve."

Complaints will be reviewed by the departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Education and Justice, along with the CFPB and Federal Trade Commission. The massive interagency effort will allow federal officials to use their findings to pressure schools into changing, or go after harsher punishment if warranted.

Veterans groups hailed the move as a "game changer," according to Stars and Stripes.

 

Related Links

Joint U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense Press Release

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/01/30/new-online-portal-provides-way-military-and-veteran-students-and-their-families-pr-0

The Chronicle of Higher Education

http://chronicle.com/article/New-US-System-Aims-to-Help/144321/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

Stars and Stripes

http://www.stripes.com/news/online-complaints-system-will-police-colleges-over-gi-bill-benefits-1.264742