“We didn’t know how to pay for college,” said Alphi Coleman, an Army veteran who joined the military to help pay for college.
“We didn’t have counselors in our school to tell us how that was going to happen so one way I knew was the military because they hung out in our cafeterias,” she said.
Coleman was a reservist working full-time for the military and used her G.I. Bill at the University of Phoenix which is a for-profit college based in Arizona.
“I had seen marketing that said there were three- and four-star generals that went to the University of Phoenix so I had this really high expectation of what I was going to receive and quickly found out that was not the case.”
Last week, Coleman testified to the Department of Education about the problems she faced as a student:
“I felt pressure to enroll from Phoenix recruiters who told me I needed to enroll quickly or I’d miss out, so I signed up right away. But when I arrived, I found out that new cohorts started every week. They also claimed their alumni went on to be executives and that the school had partnerships with government agencies and companies like Microsoft and AT&T, but I never saw these or any other job placement services.”
“And I know the tactics they had been accused of doing is what they had done to me…so I was very hopeful that with that lawsuit I would get some kind of justice,” Coleman said.
“Unfortunately, the target has been on the back of veterans because of some unfortunate loopholes in federal law,” said Chris Madaio, the vice president of legal affairs and Veterans Education Success.
Madaio said it’s possible to have their benefits restored but it would probably take an act of Congress.
Still, he’s urging veterans impacted by for-profit schools to come forward.
“These benefits should not be allowed to be wasted by schools that are not teaching people what they need to teach them and are lying just to get those students in the door just to suck away their G.I. money,” he said.
Coleman said if she’s able to get her G.I. Bill back she would go to a more reputable college.
“I volunteered for this, yes but I volunteered based on the promise of opportunity and I feel like that was taken from me,” she said.
Watch the full story here at ABC15 Arizona.