VP for Veterans & Military Policy
Veterans Education Success
Dr. Joe Wescott
National Association of State Approving Agencies
For-Profit School—Future Tech Career Institute—Has Access Cut
to Veteran and Service Members’ Education Benefits
Risk-Based Survey by U.S. Dept of VA & Illinois State Approving Agency Finds
For-Profit School Delivered Poor Student Outcomes & Illegally Recruited
Washington, D.C., March 17, 2022 – Today, veterans service organizations applauded the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Illinois State approving agency (SAA) for taking action to cut off veterans’ benefits from Future Tech Career Institute, a for-profit school that was a major beneficiary of veterans’ education funds under the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP).
Following student veteran complaints to VA and Illinois, the Illinois SAA, Dan Wellman, quickly undertook a risk-based survey of the career training program and formally disapproved Future Tech Career Institute from receiving VA education benefits effective February 28th. Illinois’ disapproval is one of the first of its kind in the nation under a new federal statute, the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 – unanimously supported in Congress – which requires targeted examination of schools exhibiting indications of deceptive practices or failing to properly educate students. SAAs operate under the authority of VA, and are often referred to as the “watchdogs of the GI Bill.”
“Director Wellman took the right steps to shut down Future Tech’s access to these valuable education resources and put a stop to veterans’ being ripped off,” said Will Hubbard, Vice President for Veterans & Military Policy at Veterans Education Success. “The veterans entering these programs were simply looking for a way back into the workforce; unfortunately, they were scammed into wasting their benefits at Future Tech, the outcomes of which were questionable at best.”
“This case is an excellent example of how State approving agencies are truly the boots on the ground for making sure veterans are protected and their GI Bill benefits are used appropriately,” said Dr. Joe Wescott, a national higher education consultant for The American Legion and Legislative Liaison for the National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA). “We approve only quality programs that lead to good-paying jobs, and we make sure through risk-based reviews that quality remains strong, even after programs are approved.”
The SAA found Future Tech “engaged in substantial misrepresentations as defined by 38 USC 3696,” including:
- “FTCI misrepresented to students and potential students the availability, frequency, and appropriateness of courses of education.”
- “FTCI did not have an appropriate number of instructors available to teach the number of students enrolled.”
- “FTCI advertises students will earn 4-7 certifications through their training program. Since March 2021, only 6 students have earned [even] one certification, although there are close to 400 enrolled students during this time.”
- “FTCI pressured veterans into signing up for VRRAP, and concomitantly with Future Tech, using statements such as Time is Running out, Funds are Running Out, or that there is limited space in the program.”
- Using a known lead generator, “RecruitMilitary.com,” to source prospective veterans for training programs which did not deliver the outcomes they advertised.
Illinois was one of six states that recently wrapped up a pilot program to test out a new risk-based review model to implement the new Isakson-Roe law – with results just recently published in a report from the National Association of State Approving Agencies, The American Legion, and EducationCounsel. That pilot tested various risk-indicators of schools that may be failing to deliver for students and taxpayers. The pilot results demonstrated that a risk-based survey model can—and does–work. Illinois’ decisive action against Future Tech speaks to the success of that risk-based pilot.
About Veterans Education Success
Veterans Education Success is a nonpartisan organization whose mission is to advance higher education success for veterans, service members, and military families, and to protect the integrity and promise of the GI Bill and other federal education programs. The organization offers free help, advice, and college and career counseling to servicemembers, veterans, and their survivors and families using federal education benefits, and helps them participate in their democracy by engaging with policymakers. Veterans Education Success also provides policy expertise to federal and state policymakers, and conducts non-partisan research on issues of concern to student veterans. Additional information is available at www.vetsedsuccess.org.
The National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA) facilitates the efforts of its member State Approving Agencies (SAA) in promoting and safeguarding quality education and training programs for veterans, ensuring greater education and training opportunities for veterans, and protecting the integrity of the GI Bill. NASAA is made up of more than 50 state agencies nationwide that oversee education and training programs for veterans in their respective states. SAAs play a major role in monitoring schools with approved programs to assure they continue to comply with state and federal law. Additional information is available at www.nasaa-vetseducation.com
Press Release on Illinois action