Walter Ochinko is the Research Director of Veterans Education Success. Walter brings over 40 years of experience conducting investigations and producing high quality reports for policymakers in the U.S. Congress and Executive Branch.
Most recently, Ochinko worked for the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee where he focused on veterans’ education issues for 2 years. He was in charge of an investigation looking into veterans’ student loan debt and the factors contributing to veteran borrowing, an area of special interest to policymakers given the generosity of the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit. This work led to the development and passage of a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act to improve the information available to veterans intending to use their GI Bill benefits.
He also conducted oversight on the implementation of the President’s Executive Order 13607, “Establishing Principles of Excellence.” The goals of the Executive Order are to (1) reign in the predatory practices of some for-profit schools that specifically target veterans educational benefits, (2) develop consumer tools that help service-members, veterans, and their families select a school and report any problems after they enroll, and (3) enhance federal investigations into wrongdoing by schools.
Ochinko has extensive experience working with the legislative branch at both the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the U.S. Congressional Research Service, where he carried out research on a variety of topics ranging from foreign affairs and national defense to health care. During his 40-year career at GAO he produced over 75 reports and testimonies, including a series of oversight reports on federally funded nursing home care. Those reports contained over 90 recommendations, half of which have been implemented by the agency responsible for federally funded health care programs. During his GAO career, he got a first-hand perspective on Legislative Branch oversight during a 3-year stint working for the Investigations Subcommittee of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.
Ochinko received his Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and his Master’s degree from Columbia University, both in International Relations.