An emerging area of our work is helping state policymakers better understand and address the needs of military-connected students, and to improve college quality and accountability.
If you want to join us, get in touch with us at Help@VetsEdSuccess.Org
Explore the 2020 Toolkit for State Policymakers by Veterans Education Success and The Century Foundation
Check out our new toolkit for state policymakers titled, 2020 Toolkit for State Policymakers: What States Can Do to Protect Students from Predatory For-Profit Colleges. The toolkit provides a blueprint for navigating a tumultuous time in higher education as the economic downturn, combined with the coronavirus pandemic, leads to more school closures and an increase in predatory recruiting practices by for-profit schools. Endorsed by both Republican and Democratic state leaders, the 2020 Toolkit for State Policymakers offers practical, common-sense steps state leaders can undertake to prevent abrupt college closures and protect vulnerable veterans and military-connected students in higher education. Click here to download a PDF of the 2020 Toolkit.
In California, we have been working with state legislators to improve college oversight and student protections. We are also supporting California regulations to improve oversight of GI Bill colleges. We had a major win in October 2019 when the California Governor signed into law three bills we worked hard on:
- AB 1340, which requires California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education to calculate students’ debt-to-income ratio at for-profit colleges and programs;
- AB 1344, which increases state oversight of out-of-state institutions that enroll California students in online programs; and
- AB1346 that helps students recover the true cost of their losses if their school closes while they are enrolled.
And we have more great bills in the works!
We represent a group of student, veteran, consumer, civil rights, and higher education advocates focused on ensuring that higher education students in California are protected from predatory schools and have access to high-quality education that [...]
Ramond Curtis, the state policy manager for the advocacy group Veterans Education Success, said he felt outgunned. His group supported Assembly Bill 1343 by Asm. Susan Eggman, aimed at closing a loophole in federal law that [...]
Carrie Wofford, president of Veterans Education Success, characterized VA's move as another instance of finger-pointing between Washington and California. "All they've been doing is fighting with each other," she said in an interview. "There's going [...]
DeVry University joined veterans organizations in calling for legislation to close the 90/10 loophole and stop targeting veterans (which DeVry did voluntarily in 2016)
Testimony by US Army veteran, Stephanie Stiefel, at California State Assembly Higher Education Committee hearing on AB 1343 – Revising the 90/10 Rule, April 9th, 2019.
16 leading national VSO and MSO write letter to the California Assembly Committee on Education in support of closing the 90/10 loophole.
Letter from 21 national organizations representing veterans, active-duty military, and students in support of proposed rule-making to title 12 of California Code of Regulations regarding CSAAVE title 38 approval of postsecondary institutions
One of our college whistleblowers, Eric Dean, a former Ashford University admissions rep, spoke at a press conference to announce the legislation
One of our college whistleblowers, Eric Dean, a former Ashford University admissions rep, spoke at a press conference to announce legislation https://twitter.com/GIBillRights/status/1100823267210870785
VES President, Carrie Wofford, meets with California Lawmakers in Sacramento to discuss how CA state officials can better protect veterans' education benefits. - December, 2018
In Maine, we supported an important bill for two years, finally enacted in May 2019, LD 103, “An Act to Ensure the Integrity of For-Profit Colleges,” which requires annual review by the Commissioner of Education to ensure for-profit colleges are meeting adequate educational standards. For-profit colleges and universities, like their public and non-profit counterparts, will have to report how much money is spent on instruction, graduation rates, loan status of graduates, and employment status of graduates.
The 129th Maine legislature unanimously passes bill requiring better oversight of for-profit colleges passes unanimously.
In Maryland we are focusing our efforts on closing the 90-10 loophole and ensuring that for-profit colleges fairly invest in the education they provide their students. In 2019 we narrowly missed passing SB 399, a bill that would’ve required for-profit schools to reduce the amount of government funding on which they currently rely by creating a state-level 85-15 rule. Our goal for 2020 is to finish what we started by passing legislation to close the 90-10 loophole and to ensure that all for-profit institutions are investing a minimum amount of their profit in instructional spending. We believe this legislation will have a huge impact on improving the quality and outcomes of private for-profit schools across the state.
"Gov. Larry Hogan and the Maryland General Assembly have made the state the first in the nation to pass important protections for veterans who often fall prey to deceptive marketing practices of failing for-profit colleges. [...]
Press Release: Veterans Education Success Commends Maryland as the First State to Close the 90/10 Loophole
May 7, 2020 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Ramond Curtis, State Policy Manager (479) 721-8791 Veterans Education Success Commends Maryland as the First State to Close the 90/10 Loophole Advocates and veterans defrauded by for-profit [...]
This fact sheet provides statistics comparing Maryland public, for-profit, and nonprofit postsecondary institutions with respect to: Enrollment—total vs. students using the GI Bill and DOD Tuition Assistance, Dollars received for students using the GI Bill [...]
Joint Military & Veteran Service Organization Letter: Praising VA’s Effort to Protect Veterans and Taxpayers from Schools that Mislead Prospective Students
April 9, 2020 The Honorable Robert Wilkie U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 810 Vermont Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20420 Dear Secretary Wilkie: Thank you for enforcing 38 U.S.C. § 3696, which is critical in stopping [...]
Education Dive: Maryland could be the first state to close a loophole on federal aid to for-profit colleges
Maryland's bill intends to pose new limits on for-profit schools by forcing them to include military and veteran benefits when determining how much federal aid they rely on for revenue. Many large for-profit chains, such [...]
Washington Post: Maryland General Assembly moves to tighten federal aid restrictions on for-profit colleges
Maryland is poised to become the first state to limit the revenue for-profit colleges can receive from enrolling veterans. On Tuesday, the state House of Delegates unanimously passed legislation to close a loophole in the [...]
Veterans Education Success Hails Maryland as the 1st State in the Nation to Close the 90/10 Loophole
Veterans Education Success Hails Maryland as the First State in the Nation to Close the 90/10 Loophole FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ANNAPOLIS, MD – As they prepare to adjourn over Coronavirus concerns, lawmakers in Annapolis, MD, [...]
HB 593 and SB 294 will protect veterans and servicemembers from fraud and abuse by predatory colleges that target them with aggressive and deceptive recruiting just to get their GI Bill.
This bill would ban abusive debt collection tactics by preventing creditors from obtaining court orders to garnish wages and seize assets to repay defaulted student loans that creditors cannot prove borrowers owe, and it offers bowers tools to halt abuses when debt collectors and creditors break the law.
The Maryland Military Coalition, representing sixteen veterans and military service organizations, submitted the following letter of support for the Maryland Senate Bill 294 to force colleges to close the 90/10 loophole and honor the GI [...]
"Lawmakers are looking at a bill that might help veterans with college. They say there is a loophole in a college tuition program allowing for-profit colleges to take advantage of loans given to veterans. We've [...]
Testimony submitted by Veterans Education Success State Policy Manager, Ramond Curtis, in favor of 90/10 loophole closure bills - SB 294 and HB 593
Testimony regarding predatory practices by veteran Cynthia Castellon before Maryland State Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee: "I was lied to and manipulated into using my Post 9/11 GI Bill, AND taking out unnecessary loans, just so Everest could make a profit" February, 2019
Testimony regarding predatory practices by veteran Michael Miedzinkski before Maryland State Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee: "I was recruited at a college transfer fair at the community college I was attending. After a number of red flags, I began to realize I had made a mistake" February, 2019
Testimony regarding predatory practices by VES State Policy Manager Ramond Curtis before Maryland State Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee: "Maryland’s 157 for-profit colleges and career schools offer a variety of career-oriented programs, ranging from courses in medical billing to programs in building trades. We know that these institutions are crossing ethical and legal lines to boost their veteran enrollment across the country." February, 2019
In New York we are playing a pivotal role in educating the Governor’s office, the Senate, and the Assembly on how they can best rein in predatory and deceptive practices. In 2019, we were invited to testify on three different occasions in front of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, where we highlighted the need for stronger regulation and oversight of predatory schools. For 2020, we hope to pass legislation that will require schools to report important metrics to enable New York State leadership better understand where changes should be made to better serve students in higher education across the state.
New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Report, Ill-Served: Why NYC Veterans Should Use Extra Caution When Choosing a For-Profit School
"Unfortunately, all too often, veterans’ tuition benefits go to for-profit programs and schools with poor graduation and employment outcomes4 that, in the words of Hollister K. Petraeus, the former head of the Office of Servicemember [...]
This fact sheet provides statistics comparing New York public, for-profit, and nonprofit postsecondary institutions with respect to: Enrollment—total vs. students using the GI Bill and DOD Tuition Assistance, Dollars received for students using the GI [...]
Video of advocate Tyson Manker speaking at NYC Consumer Affairs Panel about student debt among veterans, and the dire need to improve protections around the Post 9/11 GIBill
Senate Standing Committee on Higher Education Chair: Senator Toby Ann Stavisky Public Hearing: To explore ways to review oversight over for-profit schools in order to better inform students, parents and consumers about for-profit education schools. - April, 2019
Veterans and Military Service Organization Letter of Support: Closing the 90/10 Loophole in New York State
16 leading national VSO and MSO write letter to the New York State Senate Committee on Higher Education in support of closing the 90/10 loophole.
“Veterans organizations, including the American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the Association of the US Navy, and a dozen others are calling on Albany to enact Gov. Cuomo’s "For-Profit College Accountability Act”
Testimony in support of Gov. Cuomo's "For-Profit College Accountability Act” before the NY state Committee on Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committee by VES State Policy Manager Ramond Curtis: "New York can prevent predatory practices and bad outcomes by implementing strong policies that hold for-profit colleges accountable to the students and taxpayers they have an obligation to serve." March, 2019
Testimony before New York State Policymakers by Mike Saunders, VES Director of Military and Consumer Policy: "Veterans Education Success has received more than 4,000 complaints from veterans who were deceived or defrauded by a for-profit college. Many of them are from New York"
In Oregon, we have been working diligently to pass legislation that would close the 90-10 loophole for the entire state. Our bill in 2019, HB 2976, received strong bipartisan support from the very beginning. After leaving the House Committee on Education with unanimous support, we were held up in Ways and Means. However, with strong support for closing the loophole in both the House and Senate, we hope to pass our loophole closure bill – SB 1544 – during 2020 interim session.
"By exploiting this loophole, for-profit colleges can improperly count GI Bill benefits as private funds, offsetting the 90 percent cap they otherwise face on their access to federal student aid. We know you have numerous [...]
This fact sheet provides statistics comparing Oregon public, for-profit, and nonprofit postsecondary institutions with respect to: • Enrollment—total vs. students using the GI Bill and DOD Tuition Assistance, • Dollars received for students using the [...]
Watch Veterans Education Success State Policy Manager Ramond Curtis testify alongside OR State Legislators and American Legion leadership before the Oregon Senate Committee about pending legislation that would close the 90/10 loophole in Oregon.
The American Legion Legislative Chair, Jack Labox, testimony in favor of closing the 90/10 loophole.
The state commander for The American Legion Department of Oregon writes in support of SB 1544 and closing the 90/10 loophole.
The Student Veterans of America Oregon State University chapter letter in support fo closing the 90/10 loophole.
"We at Veterans Education Success are writing in support of Senate Bill 1544. This bill will protect veterans and servicemembers from fraud and abuse by predatory colleges that target them with aggressive and deceptive recruiting just to get their GI Bill."
Jay Hernandez is a Marine Corps Veteran from Oregon City, OR., and former student at the University of Phoenix.
Testimony by Veterans Education Success State Policy Manager, Ramond Curtis, in favor of SB 1544 Oregon State 90/10 loophole closure - Oregon Senate Committee on Education
16 leading national VSO and MSO write letter to the Oregon House Committee on Education in support of closing the 90/10 loophole
VES State Policy Manager Ramond Curtis testimony before the Oregon House Committee on Veterans Private Education Protection Act: HB 2976 - March, 2019
Video of Oregon State House of Representatives Committee on Education hearing: HB 2976 - Veterans Private Education Protection Act, March 2019
Testimony of Ryan Preston before the Oregon House of Representatives Committee on Education at the hearing on HB 2976 - Veterans Private Education Protection Act: "I received a total of 2 online job leads and then the university reps tried forcing me to sign a release of liability so they would not be obligated to assist me in finding employment" March, 2019
In Massachusetts we worked with the Attorney General’s office on regulations to ensure school accountability.
Public Comment by Veterans & Military Organizations on the Massachusetts Attorney General's Proposed Regulations on Deceptive Marketing by For-Profit Schools
In Virginia we worked with the State Council of Higher Education to ensure school accountability.
Postsecondary schools; enrollment agreements; disputes; arbitration. Prohibits any postsecondary school that is required to be certified by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia from conditioning the enrollment of a student on (i) entering into [...]
Veterans Education Success has found that enrollment contracts are increasingly being used by certain postsecondary institutions as ways to limit the rights of the students that we serve. Restrictive clauses are often an [...]
In just the last sixteen months, Veterans Education Success has worked with state legislators, higher education non-profits, and veteran/military service organizations to introduce first-in-the-nation 90/10 loophole closure bills in three states.
February 14, 2020 Dear Attorneys General: As you may have heard, on December 10, 2019, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a proposed settlement with the University of Phoenix (UOP). In its investigation, the [...]
Washington Denies Ashford University’s Application to Recruit, Advertise, or Offer Field Placements to Students
On May 3, 2019, the Washington Student Achievement Council notified Ashford University that it is not permitted to engage in any actions that constitute "operating" in Washington, as defined in the state's Degree-Granting Institutions Act. [...]
We collaborate with allied organizations to protect veterans and their hard-earned education benefits. Through these collaborations, we are able to increase our impact and ability to produce meaningful results. Bellow is a list of reports from other organizations that we think provide useful suggestions for state policymakers.
The Century Foundation is a progressive, nonpartisan think tank that seeks to foster opportunity, reduce inequality, and promote security at home and abroad.
Children’s Advocacy Institute: Failing U: Do State Laws Protect Our Veterans and Other Students From For-Profit Postsecondary Predators?
The Children’s Advocacy Institute's mission is to improve the health, safety, development, and well-being of children and youth. Their goal is to ensure that children’s interests are represented effectively whenever government makes policy and budget decisions.
STUDENT VETERANS ZACH HASTIE AND MICHELLE KERNIZAN JOINED OUR STATE POLICY MANAGER RAMOND CURTIS TO ASK NY LEGISLATORS TO PROTECT STUDENT VETERANS (ALBANY, NY, MARCH 2019)
OUR STATE POLICY MANAGER RAMOND CURTIS TESTIFIED IN FAVOR OF MARYLAND LEGISLATION TO PROTECT STUDENT VETERANS (ANNAPOLIS, MD, FEB. 20, 2019)
ASHFORD UNIVERSITY WHISTLEBLOWER ERIC DEAN SPOKE AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ANNOUNCING CALIFORNIA LEGISLATION TO PROTECT STUDENT VETERANS (SACRAMENTO, CA, FEB. 27, 2019)
Proud of our State Policy Manager Ramond Curtis testifying here before the Maryland legislature to protect #student #veterans' hard-earned #GIBill! Alongside @cmadaio with Maryland Attorney General @BrianFrosh and @Bob_Shireman of @TCFdotorg and @mdconsumers #defendstudents pic.twitter.com/F2LakdrgmK
— Veterans Education Success (@GIBillRights) February 24, 2019
Great meetings with key California policymakers here in Sacramento CA on behalf of #student #Veterans. Huge thanks to @MyCalVet, CA Assembly Speaker, CA Assembly Vets Committee, #highered commissions, & California Attorney General! pic.twitter.com/cxwpwruHib
— Veterans Education Success (@GIBillRights) December 4, 2018
— Veterans Education Success (@GIBillRights) October 7, 2019
See how we are working to advance higher education success, protecting the integrity and promise of the GI Bill.
Our Advocacy Letters
We collaborate with our veteran & military allies to maximize our collective advocacy impact. We frequently submit formal letters, with policy recommendations, to federal agencies and Congress.
We work with Congressional Committees and Members to introduce bills, hold hearings, and urge the executive branch to protect military-connected students.
Our Work with the Executive Branch
We work with federal agencies to ensure military-connected students’ hard-earned education benefits are successful and effective.
Our Work with the States
An emerging area of our work is helping state policymakers better understand and address the need to improve college quality and accountability.
Congressional Roundtable: From GI Bill Student to U.S. Representative
In 2020 we hosted a roundtable discussion featuring Members of Congress who used federal education benefit programs like the GI Bill to support their journey through higher education. Learn what they said about their experience and more.