The VA has received at least 37 complaints about Ashford from GI Bill beneficiaries. An advocacy group called Veterans Education Success (VES) has collected 113 more from veterans and service members, many of which echo student veteran Richard Baca’s criticisms about quality and cost.
“When Congress first passed the GI Bill, they didn’t think about accountability, about measuring outcomes or returns on investment,” said Walter Ochinko, research director at VES, which recently released a report on the confusing oversight statutes. “As a result, there are now gaping holes in the GI Bill.” A series of changes in 2011 and 2016 meant to clarify oversight roles has only muddled things, according to the VES report.
“I have paid out of pocket for a lot of my degree because [Ashford] cannot seem to work with our benefits like they said they could,” one veteran said. “The school continuously maxed me out on student loans every semester even though I got [the] GI Bill,” a disabled veteran wrote. “Now not only do I have two degrees that are almost practically useless, but I am over $70,000 in debt.”
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