In April 2012, the president signed an executive order that protects them from predatory recruitment practices of this minority of for-profit institutions. The order requires schools to provide truthful information to service member regarding financial aid, plans for loan repayment and credit transfers.
Bills brought forth by mainly Democrats in the Congress had little chance of passage because of the effects of divided government. Thus, the president had to bring the reforms in by executive order.
Obama announced the order at Fort Stewart, Ga. April 27, 2012. “They don’t care about you,” he declared, “they care about your cash.” The government can’t put the diploma mills out of business, but Obama is determined to protect the military from them whenever and wherever possible.
Some of those schools have aggressively pursued service members, just to have a chance at $500 million per year in military education benefits. As reported by Salon in 2012, the for-profit colleges generate most of their revenue from federal student loans. With so many young persons looking for personal betterment, unscrupulous recruiters view military bases as very rich hunting grounds.
- Some disreputable recruiters have gone so far as to recruit students in traumatic brain injury wards of military hospitals. Later, the patients could not recall even being seen by a recruiter and were incapable at that time of participating in higher education programs.
- Dishonest recruiters often tell their prospects that they would not have to pay for their education, but then at enrollment sign them up for a high-interest loan.
- Prospects are often told that the credits earned at that school can be transferred to other institutions, although the credits were actually non-transferable.
- Those schools guilty of deceptive practices will not be allowed to recruit on military bases. Also, the existing rules will be better enforced and a complaint system will begin.
- On Dec. 3, 2012, the Obama administration trademarked the term “GI Bill” so that military and veteran families won’t be hoodwinked by the use of this term by unscrupulous diploma mills. Most of the targeted schools used “GI Bill” as an Internet search term to attract recruits.
The biggest supporters of President Obama’s order are the legitimate military friendly colleges across the U.S. These honest institutions are tired of being judged along with colleges using bad practices.
Those “good” schools provide a very important role in our society by making higher education and vocational training available to service members and veterans.
Also expressing their support of the executive order was the Student Veterans of America, a campus veterans group. They applauded the announcement and said the order would help stop “deceptive and misleading” practices.
Nearly 538,500 service members took advantage of the tuition assistance program in 2012, enrolling in about 874,000 courses. The GI Bill began after World War II and has been called one of the greatest social programs in U.S. history.