Protecting Military Education Benefits

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The United States has always been a symbol of freedom and the opportunity to create a better life. These freedoms are protected by the men and women who serve in our nation’s military. It is only fitting that these heroes be given the opportunity to pursue their own dreams with the assistance of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

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The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals who have been honorable discharged from service. Some of the benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill include:
• full tuition and fees for public in-state schools
o graduate and undergraduate degrees
o vocational or technical training
o flight, correspondence, or entrepreneurship training
o tutorial assistance
o national testing programs
o licensing
• stipend for books and supplies
• monthly housing allowance
• Ability to transfer GI Bill benefits to dependents

It is estimated that more than 550,000 veterans used the Post-9/11 GI Bill or Tuition Assistance to pursue higher education last year. The benefits of further education can greatly impact your future success. Many education programs designed to accommodate adults returning to school while working. There are many programs and schools eager and available to help with scholarship for active military or veterans. With a myriad of online options now available, determining the best school and program can be daunting without an advisor. Unfortunately, the rise in the number of online and associate degree programs has created aggressive and deceptive marketing aimed at military families. While some of these programs are legitimate and beneficial, there has been a marked rise in online schools that are interested only in taking the students’ money.

It was discovered that one such school sent a recruiter to Camp Lejeune. The recruiter enrolled Marines significantly affected by Traumatic Brain Injuries. The injuries were extensive enough that the Marines couldn’t even remember what courses they had signed up for. The recruiter blatantly disregarded their needs for his school’s financial gain. Exploitation of our service men and women is unacceptable. Recognizing that someone needed to intervene on their behalf, the Obama administration signed an Executive Order to protect the educational benefits and opportunities of our veterans, troops, and their families.

The Executive Order, signed by President Obama at Fort Stewart in Georgia, will help ensure active military and veteran students have the information they need to make informed decisions about educational options. It will protect them from deceptive marketing and enforce transparent costs. The Executive Order will apply to education benefits including the GI Bill, Tuition Assistance Program, and the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account Program.

A summary of what the Executive Order will accomplish:

• Keep unscrupulous marketers and recruiters off of military installations. Some institutions, such as the one which targeted service members with TBI, market aggressively and deceptively in regards to cost and time of completion. The Executive Order will create rules for how these institutions can gain access to military installations. This will help to weed out those schools which have shown poor behavior and marketing tactics. The Senate HELP Committee determined that eight of the ten educational institutions collecting the most from Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits were for-profit schools with high drop-out rates.
• Ensure students have all the information they need. The Executive Order requires that schools provide detailed, transparent information about cost and financial aid. Students must have clear information regarding the true cost of the education as well as the likelihood of completion. Offering the “Know Before You Owe” financial aid form developed by the Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to every student as well as encouraging every school to provide the form, will give students critical information regarding tuition, fees, financial aid, and outcomes.
• Registering the term “GI Bill” to prevent unscrupulous and misleading online recruiting practices by institutions trying to resemble official government sites and fraudulently marketing their programs.
• Improved support services for service members and veterans. The Executive Order will require colleges do more to meet the needs of military students by providing clear plans and counseling services. This includes working with students who may need to leave school for service-related reasons to help them either re-enroll easily or receive a refund.
• Complaint system. The Executive Order will create a centralized complain system for students receiving military or veteran’s education benefits. This will give students an easy way to report fraudulent activity and make it easier for the federal agencies to follow-up. The Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Defense will be given the ability to act on complaints of improper activity by education institutions.

Our nation’s greatest heroes, the men and women who have served our country, deserve access to a good education. The GI Bill provides a means for them to more easily pursue opportunity and the American Dream. The Executive Order will help serve as a watchdog for the best interests of our service members and veterans.

 

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