Military affairs beat: Veterans deceived by schools can get aid

  • Article by: MARK BRUNSWICK , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 2, 2013 - 7:34 PM

The Veterans’ Student Loan Relief Fund recently announced two new recipients of its grants, designed to help student veterans dig out from under the debt they built up from for-profit education companies.

As the use of the Post 9/11 GI Bill is skyrocketing, for-profit colleges have come under fire for their use of high-pressure, misleading and aggressive marketing and recruiting tactics to lure veterans, some of whom have depleted their GI Bill and federal financing and have taken out huge loans.

For-profit schools have been accused of charging exorbitant tuitions though their dropout rates and poor student outcomes are often dramatically higher than public institutions.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson is investigating abuses by for-profits and is particularly focusing on the use of the GI Bill. U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, conducted an extensive investigation into for-profit colleges and produced a separate report on the GI Bill.

One of the recipients of the grants, a Marine with two tours in Iraq, enrolled in a for-profit college for a law enforcement degree only to find that, after three years, his GI Bill benefits were exhausted and no police department would recognize his degree. Another of the recipients, a Navy veteran who was a Seabee in Iraq and Afghanistan, sought certification as an inspector who diagnoses flaws in machinery. Despite assurances he would be making $50,000 to $70,000, he found out the certification qualified him only for positions making $12 an hour, too little for him to even pay back the debt he accrued above his GI Bill benefits.

The Veterans’ Student Loan Relief Fund was created by Jerome Kohlberg, a World War II veteran and early champion of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

The fund provides grants of up to $5,000 to qualified active-duty military, veterans and family members who believe they have been misled by education companies. Applications are being accepted for qualified active-duty military, veterans and family members who believe they have been deceived.

 

Mark Brunswick • 612-673-4434

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