We’d Like To Add A Few Names To SVA’s List Of ‘Not Recommended’ Universities

Education
AP Photo/Matt York

Student Veterans of America is using its influence to inform student veterans of universities to watch out for when pursuing higher education. On Monday, SVA announced a new initiative to raise awareness of schools “that may present challenges for veterans,” in other words, these schools are screwing over the veterans community. The first three institutions named --- Everest College, Heald College, and Wyotech --- have been added to SVA’s “Not Recommended” list and are part of a chain of for-profit career colleges under a company called Corinthian Colleges, which owns more than 100 campuses nationwide, and receives more than $1 billion federal aid each year. According to SVA, Corinthian Colleges was actively recruiting service members on military bases even when many of its campuses face potential closure. It has since been confirmed that Corinthian Colleges plans to sell 85 of its schools and close 12 others.


SVA President and CEO D. Wayne Robinson said, "I am disappointed to see institutions engage in such irresponsible behavior … If we find additional schools with equally poor practices, they will be included in this list and we will ensure its widest dissemination."

While SVA’s initiative is certainly a big step in the right direction toward informing veterans of the best ways to utilize the post-9/11 GI Bill, Corinthian Colleges’ behavior is only a small indication of a much larger issue. So we at Task & Purpose would like to expand the list a little bit to include, say, every fucking for-profit college in existence. For-profit colleges have been aggressively going after student veterans for years. A recent investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting found that the University of Phoenix, one of the largest for-profit college systems in the country, has received more than $1 billion post-9/11 GI Bill funding over the last five years. Its San Diego campus alone pulled in $95 million in GI funds, which is more than any U.S. brick-and-mortar campus, as well as more than the entire University of California system and all UC extension programs combined.

The problem with veterans spending their GI Bill money on for-profit universities is that these institutions, unlike non-profit and public colleges, are owned by and run as businesses. What’s the top priority to becoming a successful business? Making money. This money --- which comes almost entirely from taypayer dollars --- is then largely reinvested into marketing and recruiting, rather than into improving the quality of the education for enrolled students. The results are “high rates of loan default, aggressive recruiting, higher than average tuition, low retention rates, and little job placement assistance.”

Additionally, many for-profit universities have been barred from receiving state financial aid due to failing to meet state standards, or simply operate without any accreditation. As a result, employees do not recognize many of these degrees leaving veterans unemployed with a useless degree after their GI Bill money is used up.

Yet, veterans continue to unknowingly enroll because these for-profit college systems pour millions of dollars into marketing and lobbying on Capitol Hill to prevent more stringent regulations from being placed on GI Bill funding. According to lobbying records cited in CIR’s report, the University of Phoenix has spent over $4.8 million on lobbying Congress, the White House and the federal VA. Corinthian Colleges spent $4.4 million.

Until politicians in Washington are able to see past the dollar signs flying their way from for-profit university lobbyists, it is up to organizations like Student Veterans of America to inform and warn student veterans about institutions that are taking advantage of their status and their money.

Lauren Katzenberg is the managing editor of Task & Purpose. She is also an assistant editor at War on the Rocks.

 

Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.

Read More Show Less
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)

MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."

Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Read More Show Less

Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."

"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."

First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.

"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."

Read More Show Less

D-Day veteran James McCue died a hero. About 500 strangers made sure of it.

"It's beautiful," Army Sgt. Pete Rooney said of the crowd that gathered in the cold and stood on the snow Thursday during McCue's burial. "I wish it happened for every veteran's funeral."

Read More Show Less