November 09, 2017

Senators Shaheen, Hassan Cosponsor Reintroduction of Military and Veterans Education Protection Act

WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) helped reintroduce the Military and Veterans Education Protection Act, legislation that would close a loophole that allows for-profit schools to avoid having to secure at least 10 percent of their revenue from non-federal sources.

More than two decades ago, Republican President George H.W. Bush signed a bipartisan law that limited how much federal funding for-profit schools may receive from taxpayers. Now called the 90/10 rule, this limit requires for-profit schools to obtain at least 10 percent of their revenues from non-federal sources. However, a loophole in the law excludes Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DOD) education funds, like the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Tuition Assistance (TA), from being counted as federal funds. Some for-profit schools exploit this 90/10 loophole by using aggressive recruitment practices and deceptive marketing tools to enroll service members, veterans and other GI Bill beneficiaries. The Military and Veterans Education Protection Act would close the 90/10 loophole by counting VA and DOD funds as federal dollars.

“The predatory actions of some for-profit schools that have misled and deceived veterans working toward their degrees are unconscionable,” said Senator Shaheen. “These institutions should not be incentivized to use deceptive practices to target veterans. Closing the 90/10 loophole will ensure our veterans can receive a quality education and create greater accountability of taxpayer dollars.”  

“It is unacceptable that predatory for-profit schools take advantage of our veterans who have sacrificed bravely in defense of our freedom,” Senator Hassan said. “Closing the 90/10 loophole is a common-sense step we can take to crack down on bad actors in the for-profit college industry and help ensure that our service members and veterans can receive the quality education they have earned.”

Since 2009, more than 1.7 million service members, veterans and their families have used the Post-9/11 GI Bill to finance their higher education. However, over the past several years, about 40 percent of Post-9/11 G.I. Bill tuition benefits have gone to for-profit schools, even as questions continue about their graduation, default and job placement rates. Additionally, some of the largest recipients of Post-9/11 GI Bill funds have closed down after years of delivering poor outcomes to students and taxpayers. Two now-shuttered for-profit colleges, ITT Technical Institutes and Corinthian Colleges, received over $1 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits before suddenly closing their doors, leaving nearly 7,000 student veterans and every American taxpayer in the lurch. Far too many veterans and service members have exhausted their hard-earned benefits at now-defunct schools. In response, a broad coalition of Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and other advocacy groups are rallying behind this commonsense effort to close the 90/10 loophole to protect military and veteran students, as well as taxpayers, from bad actors in the for-profit educational sector.

“Student Veterans of America (SVA) has been committed to closing the 90/10 loophole since 2011,” said William Hubbard, VP of Government Affairs for the Student Veterans of America. “Prospective and current student veterans remain the target of predatory programs that deliver a low-quality education. We remain committed to transparency in higher education and helping student veterans become informed consumers. SVA supports closing this loophole and is pleased to be working with Congress to make that a reality.”

“The 90/10 loophole has created a reality that unjustly wastes the money of American taxpayers and deprives veterans of the education benefits they have earned,” said Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) Legislative Director Tom Porter. “While closing the loophole is not the only solution, it is a significant step Congress should take to improve education outcomes for veterans. Education is the best tool veterans have to transition to civilian life and develop the skills to find a new career. IAVA is committed to ensuring that every veteran can take advantage of their full earned benefits. That means refusing to allow predatory for-profit colleges from targeting GI Bill benefits and failing to deliver on promised quality education.”

Organizations supporting the Military and Veterans Education Protection Act include: The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Student Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans Education Success, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Military Officers Association of America, Blue Star Families, Military Child Education Coalition, Veterans for Common Sense, Non Commissioned Officers Association, VetsFirst, VetJobs, High Ground Veterans Advocacy, AMVETS, Wounded Warrior Project, The Retired Enlisted Association, Got Your Six, National Guard Association of the United States, Association of the United States Navy, Naval Enlisted Reserve Association, Non Commissioned Officers Association, National Military Family Association, Swords to Plowshares, Air Force Association and the Air Force Sergeants Association.