October 9, 2015
For Immediate Release
Contact: Carrie Wofford
Defense Department Puts University of Phoenix on Probation
Statement by Matthew Boulay, Executive Director, Veterans Student Loan Relief Fund and an Iraq War veteran
Washington, D.C. – The Department of Defense yesterday announced sanctions against the University of Phoenix, suspending it for from participating in its tuition assistance programs and barring school officials from recruiting at military facilities, including job fairs. The 14-day suspension allows the company to respond, after which the suspension can be extended or ended (with or without conditions).
The move came after news reports uncovered improper recruiting and marketing practices by the school. The report, by Reveal, exposed how the company paid the military for exclusive access to military bases, holding recruitment events disguised as “resume workshops” and improperly using military insignia on giveaways without required authorization.
Matthew Boulay, Executive Director, Veterans Student Loan Relief Fund and an Iraq War veteran said: “The Defense Department has taken a bold, but necessary, step to protect veterans from outrageous predatory practices used by the University of Phoenix. DOD needs to keep the pressure on U Phoenix and clamp down on other for-profit educational predators. Our veterans need better protections against these profiteers who are defrauding veterans, using misleading and aggressive marketing and recruiting tactics, while providing an inadequate education.
“These young men and women have dearly earned the opportunity to attend college or career training programs and be able to use the degrees and certificate they receive to find gainful employment and start successful careers. The Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill before it are our country’s most important tools for helping Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans achieve the American dream. The Defense Department should not be engaged in an ‘access-for-pay’ scheme to give these companies unfettered admittance to military bases to sell their inadequate educational programs.
“Many for-profit colleges use hard-sell tactics that catch returning veterans and active-duty military unaware of the high cost and low success rates of these institutions. Largely financed by taxpayer-funded scholarship and loan programs, for-profit institutions charge exorbitant tuitions and are rife with hidden fees, yet their dropout rates and dismal student outcomes are dramatically high. They sell empty promises of a high quality education and “guaranteed” jobs to lure veterans into enrolling, signing long-term contracts that ultimately exhaust their GI Bill benefits and leave them empty handed – without a degree, without transferable credits and heavily in debt.”
About the Veterans’ Student Loan Relief Fund
The Veterans’ Student Loan Relief Fund was created by Jerome Kohlberg, a World War II veteran and early champion of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Applications for grants of up to $5,000 are currently being accepted for qualified active-duty military, veterans and family members, who believe for-profit education companies have deceived them. To date 31 veterans have been awarded grants. For complete guidelines and an application, please visit http://iava.org/loan-relief.
The Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Education and Justice, along with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission, created a centralized, online system to help student veterans fight back against the deceptive and fraudulent practices of some colleges and technical training schools. Veterans who believe they have been deceived by a for-profit college are encouraged to report it:
- DOD Tuition or MyCAA Education Benefits
- Montgomery or Post 9/11 GI Bill – Department of Veterans Affairs
- Federal Financial Aid (i.e., Pell grants and Federal Loans) – Department of Education – [email protected]
- Private Student Loans – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
About Veterans Education Success
Veterans Education Success (VES) is a veteran advocacy organization whose mission is to advance higher education success for veterans, servicemembers, and military-connected students and to defend the integrity and promise of the GI Bill and other federal education programs for veterans and servicemembers. VES offers policy expertise to policymakers and conducts non-partisan research on issues of concern to student veterans, including student outcomes and debt levels. VES also offers free legal services, advice, and college and career counseling to servicemembers, veterans, their survivors, and families using federal education benefits, and helps veterans participate in their democracy by engaging with their Congressional representatives. Additional information is available at www.vetsedsuccess.org.