Press Release: Thirty-Three Leading Military & Veteran Service Organizations Praise VA Effort to Protect Veterans and Taxpayers from Schools that Mislead Prospective Students

For Immediate Release                    

Carrie Wofford

April, 9 2020

The letter expresses support for VA’s enforcement of Title 38 U.S.C. Section 3696 and provides guidance to deter future abuse.

Washington, DC –  Thirty-three military and veteran service organizations, including Veterans Education Success, sent a letter to the Hon. Robert Wilkie, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), expressing their support to VA for its work “enforcing 38 U.S.C. § 3696, which is critical in stopping harm to veterans and military-connected students, protecting the GI Bill from fraud, and sending a deterrent message to other potential violators of federal law.”[1]

The joint letter, led by Veterans Education Success, comes on the heels of VA’s enforcement action[2] in March which notified five institutions of higher learning of VA’s intent to suspend new GI Bill enrollments in accordance with 38 U.S.C. 3696. Affected schools include the University of Phoenix, Career Education Corporation (recently renamed Perdoceo Inc.) institutions — including Colorado Tech and American Intercontinental University — Bellevue University, and Temple University.  VA’s action would not affect currently-enrolled students at these schools, only new enrollments.

Title 38 section 3696 prohibits VA from approving enrollment of GI Bill beneficiaries to schools that use erroneous, deceptive, or misleading recruitment practices; a law which Veterans Education Success has consistently[3] alerted VA to enforce to better protect veterans from predatory schools’ deceptive marketing and recruitment practices. This was also echoed in a 2016 Yale Law School report[4] and in letters[5] from three-dozen military and veteran organizations to VA in 2019[6] and 2016[7].

VA’s enforcement actions were triggered by the schools’ settlements with law enforcement for deceptive recruiting, including the University of Phoenix’s settlement[8] of nearly $200 million with the US Federal Trade Commission and Career Education Corporation’s settlement[9] of nearly $500 million with 49 states and an additional $30 million with FTC.  Under the statute, VA must act when provided “preliminary findings” by FTC regarding deceptive recruiting.

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