The Stadium Hosting The Super Bowl Is Sponsored With Taxpayer Dollars Meant For Veterans

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More than 100 million people are estimated to tune in to Sunday’s Super Bowl showdown between the Seahawks and the Patriots. But there’s a subplot to the stage for the game --- the Arizona Cardinals’ stadium in Glendale, Arizona --- that speaks to a contentious topic in the modern military veterans’ world.


The Arizona Cardinals sold the naming rights for their stadium to the University of Phoenix, a for-profit, largely online, system of colleges and universities.

It was a massive corporate sponsor deal inked in 2006. According to a 2009 New York Times piece, the deal spans 20 years and costs the University of Phoenix $7.7 million for each year of the deal, or $154 million over the course of the sponsorship.

But where do they get that much money for a marketing endeavor? The answer lies in programs designed to help the modern military and veterans population, as well as a business model designed to recruit hundreds of thousands of students and charge them lofty tuition rates for questionable degrees.

The school reportedly employs as many as 8,000 recruiters, who work to make sure paying students are enrolled at their campuses across the country. Due to its for-profit model, the University of Phoenix has to justify its business model to the people who own stock in its parent company — the Apollo Education Group — not its student population.

Indeed, many University of Phoenix campuses boast a student loan default rate that’s higher than its graduation rate. A 2013 USA Today study named no fewer than eight distinct University of Phoenix campuses had higher student loan default rates — consistently 26.4% — than graduation rates.

But having its students take our burdensome student loans to finance their education is not the University of Phoenix’s sole source of income. Indeed, the school heavily targets the modern military veterans population, whose members have the post-9/11 G.I. Bill at their disposal, which can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to veterans obtaining degrees after their military service.

The University of Phoenix system has made a staggering amount of money from the G.I. Bill — almost $1 billion, according to a report published by the Daily Beast in 2014.

One of those University of Phoenix campuses with a lower graduation rate than student loan default — the one in San Diego, California —  has a graduation rate of 10% and a student loan default rate of over 26%, according to that USA Today report. That campus was part of a Center for Investigative Reporting report published last year. In it, reporter Aaron Glantz detailed how since 2009, that specific San Diego campus — with an enrollment of around 3,000 students — had taken more money from the G.I. Bill than any individual college or university in the United States.

What’s more, according to Glantz’ reporting, that same individual University of Phoenix San Diego campus has taken more G.I. Bill money since 2009 than every school in the entire University of California system combined.

This disparity, this profiteering on taxpayer dollars that are intended to help veterans, has led to one group, the Veterans Student Loan Relief Fund, to create a change.org petition surrounding the University of Phoenix.

The fund exists to offer financial relief to veterans who have fallen in dire straits due to burdensome student debt. The group’s website details much of the problems with the University of Phoenix’s financial model. According to the group, the average American community college spends more than $3,000 per student on instruction. In 2010, the University of Phoenix spent fewer than $900 per student on instruction.

Additionally, the Apollo Education Group, the publicly traded parent of the University of Phoenix, gets a staggering 92% of its revenue from federal funds like the G.I. Bill, according to the fund.

“Support students, not stadiums,” the change.org petition reads, reflecting that no other institution of higher education owns the rights to a professional sports arena. No other school can afford to. No other school spends a reported $2,225 per student on marketing.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.

Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.

In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.

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(U.S. Army/Pvt. Stephen Peters)

With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.

After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.

Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.

McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.

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(U.S. Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Andrew Ochoa)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.

The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.

They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.

It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.

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(Reuters/Carlos Barria)

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.

Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."

"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.

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