Veterans are using the new GI Bill mostly at for-profit and community colleges, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Advocates of the Post-9/11 bill, which was enacted in 2008, had said it could improve veterans’ ability to afford four-year institutions because of its increased benefits and new allowances for housing and textbooks.
. . . Among the 15 institutions that enrolled more than 1,000 students who used the new GI Bill’s benefits from October to May, seven were for-profits and five were community colleges.
Number one was the University of Phoenix, which enrolled more than 10,000 students using the new benefits. Phoenix employs more than 1,000 employees to assist veterans.
The new GI Bill gives veterans up to the full cost of the most-expensive public college in their state, plus a housing allowance and money for textbooks. Under the “yellow ribbon” program, veterans can attend private colleges, graduate schools, and out-of-state public institutions. It’s also easier to transfer benefits to a spouse or child, which has proved a popular option.
Online programs are attracting veterans. “Seven of the top 15 colleges enrolling recipients of GI Bill aid are largely online,” reports the Chronicle.
Many operate satellite campuses near military bases.
University of Maryland University College, which ranked third, enrolled more than 3,000 GI Bill recipients over the past academic year, on campuses near U.S. military bases in Europe and Asia, in Maryland, and online.
Although the Post-9/11 GI Bill took effect only a year ago, Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, a Hawaii Democrat and an Army veteran, has proposed expanding it to include National Guard and Reserve service members.
Senate Democrats are investigating for-profit colleges’ recruitment of veterans, reports Inside Higher Education.
. . . Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) sent letters to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki asking for detailed data on how tuition assistance money for members of the military and for veterans is being spent.
“[W]e have heard reports that some for-profit institutions may be aggressively targeting service members and veterans, signing them up for educational programs that may bring little benefit to future employment opportunities, low graduation rates and high default rates,” they said. With the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, they added, “we have heard concerns about excessive tuition being charged at some of these institutions.”
The letter also was signed by Tom Carper of Delaware, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Tom Harkin of Iowa, all Democrats.