VP for Veterans & Military Policy
Veterans Education Success
Washington, D.C., August 25, 2022 – Today, shocking revelations have come to light regarding the failure of the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) to produce meaningful outcomes. The retraining program, approved by Congress as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, was intended to help veterans who became unemployed due to the pandemic to retrain in high-demand fields. To-date, fewer than 400 veterans have successfully completed the program and received employment as result, marking an abysmal outcome for a program funded for up to $386 million.
Of the most significant issues facing VRRAP, a lack of accountability and oversight on school quality persists as the leading challenge. “Bad schools always go for big opportunities, especially when they know there will be very little accountability in the administration of a program,” said Will Hubbard, Vice President for Veterans & Military Policy at Veterans Education Success. “Students and taxpayers alike expect a quality education in return for the use of VA education benefits, and unfortunately we see too many examples of programs failing to meet that expectation,” he said.
In February, following student veteran complaints to VA and the State of Illinois, the Illinois SAA, Dan Wellman, undertook a risk-based survey of the career training program and formally disapproved Future Tech Career Institute from receiving VA education benefits. The 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.”
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.
Veterans Education success calls on Congress and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to establish stronger safeguards for veterans education benefits, noting veterans deserve to rely on the Department’s implied “stamp of approval” when authorizing program providers.
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.
VES _ VRRAP Revelations _ Release