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house Bill H.R. 4625

Should States & the Feds Have Greater Oversight of Schools With Students Using GI Bill Benefits?

Argument in favor

Veterans pursuing higher education funded by GI Bill benefits should be able to rest assured knowing that the schools they’re attending will provide high-quality education. Making schools that don’t meet minimum education and transparency standards ineligible for GI Bill funding would go a long way towards that goal. It would also ensure that taxpayer dollars aren’t used to prop up undeserving educational institutions, such as unscrupulous for-profit institutions that lie to students and deliver subpar educations.

jimK's Opinion
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11/11/2019
Yes. There are way too many opportunists who will find a way to tap into governmentally funded programs of all sorts. Educational opportunities are often well marketed with implications and/or outright promises of great student successes and advancements of their alum. Some of the specialty programs like real estate flipping or huge income from eBay marketing packages are just not real, but have pretty convincing sales pitches. Oversight is needed, particularly for veterans who may be successfully lured into these scam academy's great 'promises' and either be left with some worthless 'education’ or tapping out their benefits. They deserve more. Oversight is needed.
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Johnnie's Opinion
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11/10/2019
The federal government has a vested interest in making sure that schools taking GI Bill benefits are HELPING veterans, like myself, rather than just skimming off the benefits and leaving veterans with worthless "degrees".
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Rebekah 's Opinion
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11/11/2019
Vote Yes. Millions owe debt to non-accredited scams like the disgraced “Trump University”. We must protect our vets from these dodgy scams.
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Argument opposed

This bill would restrict veterans’ ability to choose where they use their GI Bill benefits. Given that these servicemembers earned this benefit through service to their country, it’s unfair to restrict their educational choices. For-profit institutions are a valid educational choice that some veterans may want to avail themselves of, as they’re often quicker and more career-focused than traditional four-year colleges.

Lukas's Opinion
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11/10/2019
Our service members should be free to use their Gi bill at whichever institution they so choose. That money is for their education and their education is their choice!
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Caren's Opinion
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11/11/2019
No, I trust veterans using GI benefits to have sense enough to research and determine what school will fit their educational needs and desires. This bill is another Democratic attempt to try and control every aspect of people’s lives.
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ManfromNebraska's Opinion
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11/11/2019
Less government interference not more. Let vets control their education.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Economic Opportunity
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedOctober 8th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 4625?

This bill — the Protect the GI Bill Act — would increase transparency and accountability among educational programs that receive Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) funding and give the federal government and state agencies greater authority to suspend schools from participating in the GI Bill program. It would require state educational agencies or their secretaries to determine whether educational institutions meet certain requirements regarding providing information to students before enrollment, transparency about tuition and financial aid, and more. 

Subsequently, this bill would ban schools from GI Bill participation for misrepresenting themselves while marketing to, recruiting, and enrolling students. If an institution is determined to have carried out fraudulent or persistent recruiting tactics or engaged in “substantial misrepresentation” of its educational offerings, graduation rates, or graduates’ employability, it would be ineligible to enroll veterans with GI bill funding. It could also be subject to negative action by its accrediting agency, up to the loss of its accreditation.

This bill would also expand the conditions for full restoration of education benefits for students affected by schools’ closure or disapproval. It would also make schools, rather than students, responsible for repaying overpayments of tuition benefits from the VA under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. 

This bill would also expand veterans’ ability to use Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits by:

  • Allowing military service members to transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to their child wards and children ages 21-25; and
  • Authorizing housing allowances under the Post-9/11 GI Bill during short periods of active-duty service.

Students receiving Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits would be required to verify their enrollment status to the VA.

If schools violate this bill’s requirements, State Approving Agencies (SAAs) would be able to flag or suspend new enrollments to them.

Impact

Veterans; veterans going to school with GI Bill benefits; institutions with veterans using GI Bill benefits; accreditation and other requirements for institutions with veterans using GI Bill benefits; State Approving Agencies (SAAs); VA; Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4625

$117.00 Million
The CBO estimates that this bill would cost $117 million over the 2020-2024 period, and $148 million over the 2020-2029 period, to implement.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) introduced this bill to increase transparency and accountability among educational programs that receive VA funding. After this bill passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee with bipartisan support, Rep. Levin said

“Veterans who are pursuing higher education should be set up for success, and that means providing the information they need to make smart decisions and holding schools accountable. This bipartisan package will help protect veterans’ GI Bill benefits, as well as the time and effort they invest into their education. I’m thrilled to see this legislation advance with bipartisan support and look forward to a vote on the House floor.”

Daniel Elkins, legislative director at the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, says changing for-profit schools’ eligibility for GI Bill dollars would lead to for-profit schools in general restricting veterans from enrolling. In Elkins’ view, this is unfair to veterans who have earned the education benefit, and who might be prevented from going to the institution they prefer.

After “Fail State,” a documentary highlighting the ways for-profit colleges have exploited veterans and vulnerable students, was screened at the Brooklyn Film Festival in 2017, Steve Gunderson, president of the Career Education Colleges and Universities (a membership organization of for-profit schools), called it “disappointing.” He added: 

“Veterans continue to come to our schools because they can get an accelerated, focused, academic program that moves them quickly from the battlefield into the workplace in a career of their choosing. That would not happen if we [for-profit schools] destroyed veterans’ careers.”

This legislation passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee by voice vote.


Of Note: During an April 2019 joint hearing hosted by the House Committees on Education and Labor and Veteran Affairs at Grossmont College, House Higher Education and Workforce Subcommittee Chair Susan Davis (D-CA) said unscrupulous for-profit colleges consider veterans just leaving the service to be “dollar signs in uniform,” often using high-pressure tactics to enroll them, lying about job placements in industry or transfer credits to four-year colleges, and delivering substandard education ineligible for transfer credits. 

At the April hearing, Robert Muth, Supervising Attorney of the Veterans Legal Clinic at the University of San Diego School of Law, which has supplied pro-bono legal assistance to hundreds of veterans military personnel, said that virtually all the clinic’s clients had been lied to during the for-profit institution recruitment process. According to Muth, schools lied about graduation rates, employment rates, transferable credits, and accreditation.

Under the Obama administration, the Education Department adopted rules threatening severe penalties to programs that mislead students about accreditation in 2011. However, under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Education Department has softened its stance on for-profit colleges, gutting a major Obama-era regulation that cut off funding to low-performing programs, halting the approval of new student-fraud claims brought against for-profit schools, weakening “borrower defense” for students of college or universities shut down for fraud and repealing regulations forcing for-profit colleges to prove that they provide gainful employment to the students they enroll in July 2019.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / MivPiv)

AKA

Protect the GI Bill Act

Official Title

To amend title 38, United States Code, to require that educational institutions abide by certain principles as a condition of approval for purposes of the educational assistance programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.

    Yes. There are way too many opportunists who will find a way to tap into governmentally funded programs of all sorts. Educational opportunities are often well marketed with implications and/or outright promises of great student successes and advancements of their alum. Some of the specialty programs like real estate flipping or huge income from eBay marketing packages are just not real, but have pretty convincing sales pitches. Oversight is needed, particularly for veterans who may be successfully lured into these scam academy's great 'promises' and either be left with some worthless 'education’ or tapping out their benefits. They deserve more. Oversight is needed.
    Like (41)
    Follow
    Share
    Our service members should be free to use their Gi bill at whichever institution they so choose. That money is for their education and their education is their choice!
    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
    The federal government has a vested interest in making sure that schools taking GI Bill benefits are HELPING veterans, like myself, rather than just skimming off the benefits and leaving veterans with worthless "degrees".
    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
    Vote Yes. Millions owe debt to non-accredited scams like the disgraced “Trump University”. We must protect our vets from these dodgy scams.
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    Agree with others, our vets and the government need to know this money is going to ligitament education, and not someplace looking to make themself rich. Our vets deserve an education that will serve them well through life.
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    I don't think we should allow these dollars to flow to for-profit schools that do not offer high quality education which will allow these veterans to obtain meaningful employment. Many for-profit schools are a scam, with high costs, low graduation rates, and poor job placement. I don't want to waste these precious dollars, and the time of our veterans, on these schools. I really don't think these schools should receive any financial aid at all, but I'm not sure if we can completely cut that. I believe veterans should have a choice of education, but not at the expense of federal taxpayer dollars.
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    Definitely--we have a duty to provide reasonable assurance that those who served in the U.S. military don't waste their money and our federal dollars on a useless "education". Weed out fraudulent institutions like "Trump University"!
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    Yes, schools that are deemed appropriate for GI funds should be accredited & accountable. Schools should have a proven record of student employment following degrees/certification.
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    Anytime we are using federal money there should be oversight there is so much distance between who gets the money and the way it’s spent someone needs to keep an eye open to where it goes !
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    It is US money and there are too many fake schools. US ED should be involved!
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    As usual TickTock nailed this one. Unfortunately many of the Countable members are NOT unable to read TickTock’s comments due to a glitch. COUNTABLE fix IT
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    As a vet I am concerned that fake, substandard ‘schools’ are stealing vets benefits in their profit pursuit. This would help protect what these patriots have earned.
    Like (6)
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    Don’t forget colleges are not the only answer. There are many trades out there where Veterans can receive benefits to help the pay offset. I did that, it was an IBEW Apprenticeship into the Electrical Power Industry. This was a win win for me.
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    I am going to say yes, but I believe it is more complicated than that. Any program that is inappropriate for veterans is most likely inappropriate for regular students. This oversight should be used for all students. If’ this were done how many students would have been spared the for profit college fiasco.
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    Yes, but vocational training opportunities should still be allowed as education options.
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    For profit schools have clearly demonstrated they cannot be trusted to provide a quality education that meets the needs of the students and veterans to whom they market. It is questionable whether for profit schools should be able to even exist.
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    We have to put someone in charge of education at the federal level who actually knows about and cares about education. Otherwise, this won’t be enforced even if law is enacted.
    Like (4)
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    No, I trust veterans using GI benefits to have sense enough to research and determine what school will fit their educational needs and desires. This bill is another Democratic attempt to try and control every aspect of people’s lives.
    Like (4)
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    As a veteran of the United States Marine Corps myself, I have seen first hand the way that unscrupulous entities will try anything they can to profit off service members’ hard-earned benefits. Accountability in educational institutions and the protection of our veterans must be top priorities for this Congress. Vote “yes” to protect those that protect this country.
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    ONLY IF IT AIDS VETS!!
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