Jim Webb pushes for GI Bill protections
Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), author of the landmark Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, today renewed his call for quick enactment of his bipartisan legislation to preserve the program, citing newly released findings of abuses by certain for-profit schools. A report this week by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee outlined widespread problems throughout the sector uncovered by a two-year committee investigation.
Webb’s Military and Veterans Educational Reform Act of 2012 (S.2179), co-sponsored by 16 senators and endorsed by more than a dozen national veterans service organizations, would make critical reforms to protect the integrity of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and military tuition assistance. Among other provisions, the legislation would require schools participating in these programs to meet the same educational standards currently required for Title IV federal programs, such as Pell Grants. It would also require educational institutions to disclose graduation rates, default rates, and other critical information to potential students.
“Some for-profit educational institutions are providing our students a good education, but abuses by certain institutions could put the integrity of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill program at risk,” said Sen. Webb. “With the significant federal dollars being spent, we owe it to taxpayers and our veterans to carefully monitor and provide adequate oversight, so that we have standardization among the institutions who are receiving federal monies to educate our veterans.”
“I introduced the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill my first day in office, starting with a simple concept: that we owe those people who have served since 9/11 the same type of quality educational benefits that those who served in World War II received,” said Senator Webb, who served as a combat Marine in Vietnam and later as counsel to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. “I’m very proud to say that we were able to do that and it continues to be a great investment in the future of our country through the people who have served.”
The HELP Committee released the following statistics related to military and veterans education benefits from its investigation:
· The share of VA benefits going to for-profit colleges far exceed the share of federal Department of Education financial aid going to the schools.
· In fiscal year 2011, for-profit colleges collected one of every two DoD Tuition Assistance dollars, totaling $280 million.
· During fiscal year 2011, for-profit colleges received $40 million, or 61 percent, of the $65 million Military Spouse Career Advancement Account Program (MyCAA) funds disbursed.
· During the first two years of availability of Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits, for-profit companies collected $1.6 billion, or 37 percent, of the program’s total benefits dispersed.
· For-profit colleges trained 25 percent of veterans during the first two years of the program, but received 37 percent of Post-9/11 G.I. Bill funds. In contrast, public schools trained 59 percent of veterans, but collected only 39 percent of the programs funds.