Veteran Education Protection Lifted: Troubled Programs Persist

Last week, we applauded our partners at the California Department of Veteran Affairs in taking corrective action to protect our veterans against predatory marketing practices of for-profit education institutions here in the state of California.

A recent investigative report from the Center of Investigative Reporting (CIR) revealed that “Nationally, the University of Phoenix received nearly $1 billion from the new GI Bill over the last five years… Since 2009, the campus has received $95 million in GI Bill funds. That’s more than any brick-and-mortar campus in America, more than the entire 10-campus University of California system and all UC extension programs combined.” (CIR Online, July 30, 2014)

The investigation from CIR led the California Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct an audit of the University of Phoenix.  The audit revealed that the University of Phoenix had been violating a decades-old ruling of improperly targeting veterans.

However, despite the recent investigation and audit into the University of Phoenix, the federal Department of Veteran Affairs stepped in and overturned the California Department of Veteran Affairs recent ruling.

We are only a week into Secretary Robert McDonald’s tenure as VA secretary and here at Swords to Plowshares we look forward to working with the new Secretary to transform the VA into a more efficient and effective system for our veterans.  Secretary McDonald must take an important step in this direction by revealing why the VA overturned the California Department of Veteran Affairs decision without conducting an audit of its own, and basing its decision solely on new numbers provided only from the University of Phoenix.

The only way for the VA to transform into a more effective agency is if its decisions are transparent from the top-down and are made with the best interest of the veteran as the first priority.

Kevin C. Miller
Kevin C. Miller served in the United States Marine Corps infantry from 2002-2006 with multiple deployments to Iraq. He graduated from Humboldt State University with a BA in Recreation Administration and a minor in Business Administration.

He works at Swords to Plowshares as the Strategic Partnership Associate and his primary focus of work includes building partnerships between employment and training providers, relevant state entities, not for profit associations and private employers. Follow his work on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source(s): CIR Online, July 30, 2014, by Aaron Glantz; CIR Online, August 5, 2014, by Aaron Glantz; Swords blog, July 29, 2014, by Rob Kane
Feature image from Flickr (Ryan McKnight)