Good afternoon. My name is John Roberts, and I am an Army veteran. I was trained to fly helicopters, and when I retired, I wanted to earn my certification to fly airplanes. Liberty University was the only school that offered a program covered by the GI Bill specifically geared towards transitioning students from flying helicopters to airplanes. The program seemed perfect for me, but it was too good to be true. Liberty recruiters promised me the program to lure me to their school, but when I registered for courses, the flight program was no longer available.
I first learned about Liberty’s rotary wing transition program in 2020. Liberty seemed to be marketing it specifically towards military personnel. At that time, the website featured photos of Black Hawk helicopters surrounded by military pilots.
I didn’t enroll then, but in late 2021, Liberty directed its flight training affiliates to reach out to formerly interested students. I was contacted about applying for the flight program. I received frequent texts and calls, and I always firmly stated that I would not attend Liberty unless I was enrolled in the flight training program. I applied and was accepted into the program.
However, when I was trying to complete my registration online, I encountered an issue.
I registered for my three credit aviation course as well as seven credits of online coursework in other topics such as Bible study, in order to fulfill Liberty’s requirements. When I went through the financial check-in for the registration process, I was charged for all ten credits. But when I clicked to confirm everything, the next page showed that I was only registered for seven credits and no flight training.
After unsuccessfully seeking help, I withdrew from the other classes, because I had no interest in taking general education courses at Liberty. I already have a Bachelor’s degree. I went to Liberty specifically for the transitional flight training program. Because of my age, I only have a few years to work in the commercial airline industry before I will have to switch to teaching, and Liberty has wasted my time. In addition, I incurred expenses in reliance on my acceptance to Liberty’s flight program, including buying an iPad, materials to complete an initial check ride, and reserving hotels for my flight training, which would take place a few hours away from my home. I feel that Liberty marketed its program to veterans with the promise of a tailor-made program, before pulling a bait and switch.
I am here today to ask the Department of Education to continue to regulate schools like Liberty that are recruiting veterans and failing to fulfill their promises. Schools should not be allowed to entice us to enroll with the promise of a program and then fail to offer that program, while keeping us enrolled and charging us for other courses we never wanted. Thank you for your time.John Roberts Testimony