For-profit colleges have been paid hundreds of millions of dollars in GI Bill benefits, and veterans' groups, the White House and some in Congress say it's beginning to look suspicious. "They say the schools prey on veterans with misleading ads while selling expensive and woefully inadequate educations," David Zucchino and Carla Rivera of the Los Angeles Times report. This is a rural story because military members come disproportionately from rural areas, and there are indications that abuse by for-profit colleges may also be disproportionately rural.
Eight of the 10 colleges that have collected the most GI Bill benefits since 2009 were for-profit institutions, and they got 86 percent of their revenue from the program, Zucchino and Rivera report. It generally costs twice as much to attend a for-profit school as a public one, and congressional investigators say dropout rates, interest rates and default rates at for-profit schools are higher than at public institutions. Also, credits veterans earn at for-profits don't always transfer.
In April, President Obama issued an executive order requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs to trademark "GI Bill" so it couldn't be used by for-profits to deceive veterans. The order also required the 6,000 colleges that receive GI Bill funds to offer "Know Before You Owe" information packets to veterans. (Read more)