Domestic, Ethics, For-Profit, Gainful Employment, Investors, Legislation, Opinion, Recruitment, Required, Retention Rates, Student Loans, Students, University & College - Written by on Thursday, September 22, 2011 19:44 - 0 Comments

Opinion: Hollister K. Petraeus In The NYT Re: For-Profits Deceiving G.I.’s


Dear Online Colleges: 

Please pay attention to this important OpEd piece in The New York Times from Hollister K. Petraeus, the wife of Retired General David Petraues, who now heads the Central Intelligence Agency. Ms. Petraeus is no slouch herself… she is director for service member affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

- The Editors at WA

She shares her view on, “For-Profit Colleges, Vulnerable G.I.’s.” 

MILITARY personnel and their families are finding themselves under siege from for-profit colleges. A number of these schools focus on members of the armed forces with aggressive and often misleading marketing, and then provide little academic, administrative or counseling support once the students are enrolled.
Vast sums are involved: between 2006 and 2010, the money received in military education benefits by just 20 for-profit companies soared to an estimated $521.2 million from $66.6 million.The government provides two important educational benefits to service members: the Tuition Assistance program for service members on active duty, and the G.I. Bill, which is mostly used for education after military service.Today’s veterans are eager to earn post-secondary degrees — and to replicate the example of the generation that returned from World War II and fueled our prosperity. But their desire for learning is too often exploited by unscrupulous for-profit colleges.

She proceeds to explain how the 90-10 rule works and how it leads to more soldiers enrolling in for-profit colleges…

This gives for-profit colleges an incentive to see service members as nothing more than dollar signs in uniform, and to use aggressive marketing to draw them in and take out private loans, which students often need because the federal grants are insufficient to cover the full cost of tuition and related expenses.
One of the most egregious reports of questionable marketing involved a college recruiter who visited a Marine barracks at Camp Lejeune, N.C. As the PBS program “Frontline” reported, the recruiter signed up Marines with serious brain injuries. The fact that some of them couldn’t remember what courses they were taking was immaterial, as long as they signed on the dotted line.Some for-profit colleges have also created Web sites with military-sounding names. Although they present themselves as offering unbiased advice on G.I. Bill benefits, some are using deceptive methods to bring in students.

She gives the following balancing thought about for-profit schools and some background:

To be sure, there are some for-profit colleges with a long record of serving the military, solid academic credentials and a history of success for their graduates. But, compared with other schools, for-profit colleges generally have low graduation rates and a poor record of gainful employment for their alumni.
A number of for-profit colleges have questionable academic credentials or lack accreditation accepted by other institutions. This makes it very difficult for students to transfer credits to other schools. Not surprisingly, for-profit colleges also tend to have a higher-than-average student loan default rate, which means that, in the end, the college experience there may hinder, rather than help, the careers and financial prospects of their graduates.
But she points out that the 90-10 rule should change and points to a hearing happening on the matter this week:

As long as military education funds are on the 10 percent side of the 90-10 rule, service members will be a lucrative target for exploitation. As Congress explores legislative solutions at a hearing today, it is critical that federal agencies redouble efforts to prevent aggressive and deceptive practices. The benefits provided to our military and their families should not be wasted on programs that do not promote — and may even frustrate — their educational goals.

What do you readers have to say about Ms. Petraeus’ OpEd? Do you agree with her? Question her? If she and Mr. Petraeus think this way about For-Profit schools and the military, what impact will this have?

by U.S. Army via Flickr under Creative Commons

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