Office of Planning & Budgeting

May 18, 2012

For Profits Resist Executive Order Protecting Veteran Students

We’ve blogged about recent federal scrutiny of the for-profit higher education sector, and specifically about their reported exploitation of veteran students. In addition to new Department of Education higher education regulations implemented last year, President Obama signed Executive Order 13607 in late April. The Order charges several administrative agencies (Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Education) with developing a set of principles that will apply to all institutions receiving funds from federal military and veteran education benefits programs, including the GI Bill. The Principles must be developed within 90 days of the Order and ensure the following for all students eligible for such benefits:

  • Require that institutions provide prospective students with information about the total cost of the education and the portion of that cost that will be covered by their military or veteran benefits as well as estimated student loan costs.
  • Require that institutions provide prospective students with clear data about student outcomes such as graduation rates and time to degree.
  • End all fraudulent or overly aggressive recruiting techniques.
  • Provide individualized educational plans detailing how a student will fulfill program requirements and provide an estimated time to degree.
  • Provide a contact for financial and academic advising to each student.

The Order also mandates development of a centralized system that allows any student receiving military or veteran benefits to register complaints with the federal government. Additionally, it seeks to trademark the term GI Bill and other related terms to cut down on misleading or faudulent use.

Although the Executive Order applies to all institutions who enroll students receiving these benefits, including the UW, the vast majority of violations of these principles exist in the for profit sector. Recognizing that the sector is most affected by the new Order, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities is  appealing to Congress by arguing that the Administration is creating unessecary and duplicative oversight. In the meantime, the involved agencies are moving forward in compliance with the Order.