September 12, 2022
Joe Garcia, Executive Director
Veterans Benefits Administration
Department of Veterans Affairs
Via electronic mail
RE: Wheeling University GI Bill Comparison Tool
Dear Mr. Garcia,
We are writing in regards to the GI Bill Comparison Tool information for Wheeling University. We have been contacted by a former student of Wheeling University who complained to the Department of Veterans Affairs that Wheeling University lacked the competence to complete and process the paperwork for the student’s GI Bill benefits, initially prevented the student from attending classes while awaiting benefits, and offered some low-quality classes. The student submitted at least two complaints through the GI Bill School Feedback Tool but these are not documented in the Comparison Tool. As outlined below, the State Approving Agency (SAA) investigated and temporarily suspended the school.
The Student’s School Feedback Tool Submissions
The student submitted one complaint on August 21, 2021, and Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) closed that complaint on January 25, 2022 without a response from the school. See correspondence for Case No. 05754764 attached.
Another complaint from the student, Case No. 07754849, led to the SAA conducting a risk assessment and a finding that “the facility was not in compliance; therefore, the facility was suspended.” See attached correspondence from VBA to student dated June 29, 2022. According to the email, the suspension had been lifted as of June 24, 2022 prior to VBA’s response to the student.
It appears that a third complaint from the student was closed as a duplicate. See Case No. 07754854 correspondence attached.
The School’s GI Bill Comparison Tool Information
Wheeling University’s entry in the Comparison Tool, however, shows “0 student complaints in the last 24 months”. Below is a snippet from Wheeling University’s GI Bill Comparison Tool entry.
Further, there is no Caution Flag for the school having been suspended. VBA’s webpage describes the Caution Flags as follows:
- Caution Flags – Indication VAor other federal agencies applied increased regulatory or legal scrutiny to a program of education….These are indicators VA has determined potential students should pay attention to and consider before enrolling in a program of education. A caution flag means VA or other federal agencies like the Department of Education or Department of Defense have applied increased regulatory or legal scrutiny to a program of education. VA will display other categories of caution flags in future releases of the GI Bill Comparison Tool.
We respectfully request that VBA revise the GI Bill Comparison Tool entry for Wheeling University to document all complaints received. It is clear this student’s complaints have not been documented in the GI Bill Comparison Tool, and there may be complaints from other students that also are not documented.
Further, a school’s recent suspension by the SAA is an important event for prospective students to consider when deciding to enroll in a college. Indeed, the basis for the suspension here relates directly to the student veteran experience. Prospective students deserve to know that Wheeling University was suspended. We respectfully request that VBA include a Caution Flag noting Wheeling University’s recent suspension and provide a link to the determination containing details about how the suspension was resolved.
Finally, we would like the opportunity to meet with you to learn about how VBA decides what to include in the GI Bill Comparison Tool. As we noted in our letter to VBA in February of this year, the information in the GI Bill Comparison Tool is essential for the success of GI Bill students.
We appreciate your attention to these matters. We look forward to hearing from you.
Vice President for Legal Affairs