The U.S. Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee generated lots of headlines in September with a report finding that $1 billion in Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits were used last year by students who were attending eight for-profit institutions. Critics of for-profits seized on the report's findings, arguing that those colleges have been overly aggressive in recruiting members of the military. The $1 billion figure, however, was incorrect, the committee said today, and actually referred to two years' worth of G.I. Bill benefits.
The committee ran the data again, and distributed corrected numbers Thursday to the news media. The panel's statement said that its basic findings were unchanged: For-profit colleges still accounted for eight of the top 10 recipients of G.I. Bill benefits last year. But the updated findings concluded that the institutions received $626 million, a less attention-grabbing figure. In a written statement, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities called the original report a "reckless rush to judgment" that "unleashed an unwarranted tidal wave of negative publicity for our schools." The group mentioned corrections to a previous Government Accountability Office report that identified improper student recruiting practices at for-profits, and called for "fewer press conferences and more collaboration on higher education reform."