The precipitous closure of numerous school chains since 2012 was presaged by clear indicators, which we refer to as early warning signs, that enrollment in these schools posed a risk to both GI Bill beneficiaries and taxpayers. An obvious question posed by these closures is what steps did the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and State Approving Agencies (SAA) take in the face of early warning signs to mitigate such risks and protect the integrity of veterans’ hard-earned educational benefits? VA contracts with SAAs to serve as gatekeepers for schools that want to participate in the GI Bill. Our case studies suggest that few SAAs acted proactively to protect veterans and that in many cases VA took no action to support those SAAs that did so. In some cases, VA interprets federal statute as limiting its own and SAAs’ ability to act.

Vets_Ed_Success_Early_Warnings