Obama Budget Proposal Restricts GI Bill Funding to For-Profit Colleges

“More and more veterans are enrolling in high-cost for-profit programs of questionable quality, while the share of veterans enrolling in community colleges and state universities is shrinking,” Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said in a statement last July. “While the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill was designed to expand educational opportunities for our veterans and service members, I am concerned that it is primarily expanding the coffers of the big corporations running these schools.”

Harkin’s statement was made on the heels of a Senate report which stated that for-profit schools pulled in about $1.7 billion in G.I. Bill funds during 2012-2013, about $640 million more than in 2009-2010.

For a school to qualify for student aid, it is supposed to draw at least 10 percent of its revenues from non-federal sources. Currently, however, schools do not have to include funding from the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill and Defense Department tuition assistance programs in the 90/10 equation.

A proposal in President Obama’s 2016 budget would limit the amount of Post 9/11 G.I. Bill funding that for-profit colleges could collect and force colleges to include funding from the G.I. Bill and tuition assistance programs in the 90/10 equation.

Reps. Susan Davis and Mark Takano — both California Democrats — filed legislation in 2014 that would have required for-profit schools to meet the 90/10 rule. The legislation died in the House Education Committee, however, when Chairman Rep. John Kline, R-Minnesota, ruled it not germane to the topic of financial aid.

Not everyone in D.C. will likely support Obama’s proposal, however. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said that Washington “shouldn’t be limiting educational opportunities for our veterans and service members.”

Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Florida, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, has said that the 90/10 rule is an arbitrary formula that unfairly implies problems with the quality of for-profit schools. He said he believes there already are systems in place at the federal, state and local levels to ensure schools — whatever type — are providing quality service and education to veterans.

 

 

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