Veterans and military organizations wrote letters last week to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) asking it to provide more oversight of colleges that engage in deceptive recruiting of veterans, reports The New York Times.
The organizations included the American Legion, the National Military Family Association, and the Military Officers Association of America, as well as nearly 20 other groups.
The career training and for-profit college industry has been accused in recent years of exploiting veterans, poor people and minorities, the Times reported. Veterans are a target due to a loophole in federal law where money from the G.I. Bill does not count against a cap on federal funding to for-profits.
In 2012-13, the VA gave $1.7 billion to for-profit colleges. A 2014 Senate report found that seven out of eight for-profit college operators that received the most money from the department were under state or federal investigation for misleading recruiting practices or other violations.
A spokesperson from the VA told the Times it relied largely on states to police the industry. But a study by Yale law students found that the VA was required by statute to enforce federal education guidelines that prohibit fraudulent practices.
Meanwhile, veterans organizations came together this week to urging the Senate to rid its defense policy bill of language they say would allow predatory for-profit colleges unfettered access to military installations, The Hill reported.
Twenty groups signed on to a letter stating that an amendment to the Senate's version of the National Defense Authorization Act would undermine the U.S. Defense Department's current process of using a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to decide which educational institutions to allow onto bases. The measure would also subvert the Pentagon's legitimate goal of "ensuring service members are able to perform their military duties without being subjected to harassment by aggressive and unscrupulous college recruiters," the groups wrote in the letter.
The New York Times