ABOUT VETERANS EDUCATION SUCCESS

We are policy experts, academic researchers, and veterans’ advocates.  Veterans Education Success provides:

  • Free Help for Veterans and Military-Connected Students: Free legal services, advice, and college and career counseling for the GI Bill.

  • Research & Reports: Non-partisan research on issues of concern to student veterans, including student outcomes and federal oversight.

  • Policy AdvocacyAssistance to state and federal policymakers to improve quality in higher education and protect the integrity of the GI Bill.

  • Civic Engagement:  Helping veterans participate in their democracy by engaging their Congressional representatives, federal agencies, and local media.

  • Legal Work: Free legal assistance for military-connected students and whistleblowers, and legal work building cases to stop college consumer fraud, including victim trends analysis and court filings.

VES President Carrie Wofford testifies at the U.S. House of Representatives Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, October 2016

Rep. Mark Takano, Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, meets with VES and Student Veterans from Community Colleges, June 2016

OUR VICTORIES

For nearly a decade, we’ve been fighting for the rights of student veterans, service members, and their families. We couldn’t do it without our Veterans & Military Organization allies and our friends in Congress. Some of our policy successes include:

  • GI Bill Restoration for Vets at Closed Schools: VES worked hard to ensure that veterans at shuttered colleges get their GI Bill back.  We succeeded in getting full GI Bill restoration for ITT Tech and Corinthian veterans – with huge thanks to our friends at VFW who spoke out forcefully at a key moment.  We also got one semester of restoration for veterans affected by future closures.

  • Ethics Law for VA Employees: When VA proposed to waive federal ethics rules to allow VA employees to receive gifts, dividends, stock, salaries and more from for-profit colleges, VES organized a massive pushback by bipartisan national ethics leaders, veterans organizations, consumer and education organizations, and the VA employees union. We forced VA to back down.  Congress then worked with us to fix the problem.

  • Career Ready Student Veterans Act of 2016: When VES published a groundbreaking report, “The GI Bill Pays for Degrees That Do Not Lead to a Job,” Congress paid attention – unanimously passing a law to stop colleges that leave veterans ineligible to get a license to work in the promised field.

  • Quality Improvements for Defense Department Tuition Assistance: We thank Congress for listening to our quality concerns and enacting quality requirements for colleges that participate in the Defense Department Tuition Assistance. We also thank DOD for working with us on careful rules for schools.

  • 2012 Executive Order: Principles of Excellence: VES is proud to have proposed, helped draft, and built support for a 2012 Executive Order establishing principles of excellence for colleges serving veterans and military-connected students.

  • Stopping Bad Legislation: VES often works behind the scenes to stop bad bills. We helped kill an awful bill by the House Education Committee that would have removed student protections and college quality requirements while pushing federal student aid towards law-breaking colleges.

  • Helping 5,000 Veterans: VES is proud to have provided free legal services and college counseling to 5,000 veterans and service members – and counting!

  • Stopping College Fraud: VES is proud to play a role behind the scenes helping federal and state law enforcement crack down on illegal consumer fraud by bad actor colleges.

LEADERSHIP TEAM

Carrie Wofford

President

Tanya Ang

Vice President

Robert F. Norton

Senior Advisor

Walter Ochinko

Research Director

Mike Saunders

Director of Military & Consumer Policy

Peter Duffy

Advisor

Kathleen Payea

Senior Research Fellow

James Haynes

Legal Advisor

Lana Threlkeld

Legal Fellow

Barrett Bogue

Senior Communications Advisor

Ramond Curtis

State Policy Manager

Luke Opyd

Policy Analyst

Lauren Cariello Lander

Administrative Assistant

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Daniel Carey

Director

Bethany Little

Treasurer and Director

Tom Tarantino

Secretary and Director

Ricki Seidman

Vice President and Director

Carrie Wofford

President and Director

OUR PARTNERS

Veterans Education Success, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is able to serve the military and veteran community thanks to charitable contributions from our generous partners. Here are some of our supporters:

OUR HISTORY

Veterans Education Success works with partner veterans and military service organizations to educate federal and state policymakers to ensure the success of military-connected students using the GI Bill and other federal educational benefits, and to weed out college waste, fraud, and abuse.

VES was formed after a two-year U.S. Senate Committee investigation into for-profit colleges revealed a scam: certain predatory for-profit colleges were targeting veterans and service-members with aggressive, deceptive, and sometimes fraudulent recruiting in order to get access to the lucrative GI Bill and Defense Department Tuition Assistance.

Veterans were coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan and getting misled into signing up for these very low-quality schools, where graduates often cannot get the jobs they were promised. Vets were thereby losing their one shot at the GI Bill and the skills they needed to enter the civilian workforce and provide a better future for themselves and their families. The idea that education companies were seeking to trick veterans out of their hard-earned GI Bill is particularly galling because the GI Bill is the main source of America’s thanks to veterans and servicemembers who have served and sacrificed the most for America.

In 2011, veterans advocates banded together with Senate staff to propose and demand a Presidential Executive Order and legislation to force schools to disclose the true facts about what they offered and to arm federal agencies with the tools necessary to investigate and prevent deception, fraud, and abuse. That effort led to successful enactment of:

  • Executive Order 13607, “Establishing Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service Members, Veterans, Spouses, and Other Family Members,” issued April 27, 2012; and
  • Public Law 112-249, “An Act to amend Title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to develop a comprehensive policy to improve outreach and transparency to veterans and members of the Armed Forces through the provision of information on institutions of higher learning, and for other purposes” enacted on January 10, 2013.

In February 2013, shortly after the federal legislation was signed into law, Veterans Education Success was founded – in collaboration with the nation’s major veterans’ leaders – to ensure effective implementation of the Executive Order and legislation, and to find new ways to stop scams and help veterans find the high-quality colleges they deserve.