White House Push on Veterans' Education

November 11, 2015

The Obama administration this week announced several new efforts it said would help veterans of the U.S. military get more out of their college educations. The White House said it was unveiling a redesigned version of a federal GI Bill Comparison Tool, drawing new data from the broader College Scorecard to give veteran-specific data on graduation and retention rates. (Since the Post-9/11 GI Bill's creation in 2009, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has spent more than $57 billion on education benefits that 1.5 million students received, the White House said.)

In addition, the administration said the VA and the Federal Trade Commission have signed a new agreement to "provide enhanced oversight and strengthen enforcement against schools that engage in deceptive or misleading advertising, sales or enrollment practices towards veterans." The FTC is part of a new federal interagency task force that has helped coordinate federal efforts to crack down on for-profit colleges.

The president also called on the U.S. Congress to pass three legislative proposals, with a heavy focus on for-profit colleges. One proposed bill would allow the Secretary of Education to reinstate GI Bill benefits for students whose colleges close midterm. The White House pointed to Corinthian Colleges in citing its support for the legislation.

Another proposal the administration said it supports would change a federal requirement that for-profits get less than 90 percent of their revenue from federal sources. That legislation, which was introduced by Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, would change the so-called 90/10 rule back to its previous limit of 85 percent. The proposal also would count educational benefits for veterans and members of the military toward that federal limit -- a change from current policy.

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