Veterans organizations are urging Congressional education leaders to leave intact several Obama administration policies that protect students, including gainful employment and borrower defense regulations.
The letter, dated February 2, was signed by 16 veterans organizations and addressed to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and House Education and the Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC). Senate HELP Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) were also included on the letter.
In the letter, the lawmakers were urged to “stand with America’s heroes by opposing any efforts to weaken or eliminate existing protections for student veterans and their families.”
Topping their list of regulations to protect was gainful employment, which the signatories called a “common-sense requirement” that “protects both students and taxpayers from waste, fraud, and abuse.” The rule requires institutions to disclose information about program costs and outcomes to determine if a student is adequately prepared for employment.
“Veterans express anger when they discover that the government knew that a career education program had a lousy record but allowed them to waste their time and GI Bill benefits enrolled in it,” according to the letter.
The organizations also urged lawmakers to protect the borrower defense regulations that were implemented at the end of the President Barack Obama’s presidency. The regulations “make it harder for schools to hide fraud and clarify avenues for students to receive the loan relief they are entitled to under the Higher Education Act (HEA),” according to the letter.
Military students and veterans in particular are susceptible to fraud, the groups wrote, because of the 90/10 rule that caps the federal funds for-profit institutions can receive. For-profit institutions can accept no more than 90 percent of their revenue from federal programs like the Pell Grant Program and other Title IV aid programs. However, the rule “fails to list funds from the Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA), and many proprietary colleges target DOD and VA funds to offset the cap on federal funds,” according to the letter. “America’s heroes … deserve the relief they are entitled to under the law,” which is why the borrower defense regulations should be upheld, the letter said.
The organizations also urged lawmakers to uphold the ban on incentive compensation, also known as sales commissions, in the Higher Education Act and the Enforcement Unit at the Department of Education.
Publication Date: 2/7/2017