Officials: Obama Will Sign Order to Protect Military Students
While visiting Fort Stewart Friday, President Obama will sign an executive order to protect soldiers, veterans and their families from 'aggressive and deceptive' college recruitment practices, according to senior administration officials.
While visiting Fort Stewart Friday, President Barack Obama will sign an executive order aimed at protecting soldiers, veterans and their families from "aggressive and deceptive" college recruitment practices, according to senior administration officials. The officials asked not to be named, as they were speaking on background.
“Since the (Post-9/11) G.I. Bill became law, there have been reports of these aggressive and deceptive tactics by educational institutions,” said one official. “They’ve encouraged veterans and their families to take out costly student loans instead of applying for federal aid first.”
He also cited reports of institutions aggressively recruiting veterans with traumatic brain injuries or emotional vulnerabilities, then failing to provide adequate academic support or counseling. Many institutions have also failed to disclose whether they have a good graduation record among service members, veterans and their families, he said.
Some institutions have engaged in misleading recruitment practices on military bases, another official said.
“One of the more egregious abuses we’ve seen out there is institutions essentially paying base commanders to attract students and steer them toward a particular school,” she said.
According to a release from the White House press secretary’s office, the executive order will require schools to provide more information about financial aid options for students, including a “Know Before You Owe” financial aid form, which gives students a better idea of how much loan debt they might accrue by graduation.
The order will also require the Department of Defense to develop “rules for how educational institutions gain access to military installations in the first place, so that service members are not targeted by institutions known for a history of poor behavior in recruiting and marketing practices,” according to the release.
The order will also crack down on online recruiting practices, in part by trademarking the term “G.I. Bill.”
“We’ve seen a number of websites popping up with military-sounding names,” said one official. “…Some are using deceptive methods to bring students in. As a result of the (Veterans Administration) registering the term, ‘G.I. Bill,’ we’ll be better able to crack down on those practices.
“...As a result of registering this term and being able to trademark it, the V.A. could say, ‘We believe your use of this term is misleading, and therefore we’d like to pursue action to keep you from using it,’” she added.
The order also requires the VA and DoD to institute a centralized complaint system for military students, improve support services and provide military students with better data on educational institutions.
Members of Congress have introduced legislation to curb deceptive recruiting practices, but officials said the executive order could take effect more quickly.
“We’re certainly open to considering additional legislation,” one official said. “What this exec order represents is using all the president’s existing legal authority … to protect veterans.”
Stay with Fort Stewart Patch throughout the day Friday for updates on the president's visit!
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