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Weekly Address: Helping our Veterans and Servicemembers Make Informed Decisions about Higher Education

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In this week's address, President Obama told the American people about a new Executive Order he signed on Friday to crack down on bad actors that prey on our veterans and service members considering higher education. Unfortunately these brave men and women are often bombarded by schools that provide false or misleading information about things like interest rates on loans, credit transfers, and job placement programs. The President's new Executive Order makes it easier for veterans and service members to make informed decisions about financial aid and paying for college and also takes a number of steps to fight deceptive practices by some institutions. President Obama will always make sure that those who serve this country get every opportunity they deserve.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, April 28, 2012.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
Saturday April 28, 2012

On Friday, I traveled to Ft. Stewart in Georgia to meet with soldiers from the Third Infantry Division.

These men and women have fought with bravery and honor in some of the most dangerous places on the planet. Some of them didn't make it back. But those who did are now fighting a different kind of battle here at home. They're looking for new jobs, new opportunities, and new ways to serve.

For many, that means going back to school -- and America has a long tradition of making sure our veterans and our men and women in uniform can afford to do that. After World War II, we helped a generation of Americans -- including my grandfather -- go to school on the GI Bill. Now, thanks to the 9/11 GI Bill and the Tuition Assistance program, last year we supported more than half a million veterans and over 300,000 service members who are pursuing a higher education.

That's progress. But it's not enough to just help our veterans and service members afford school -- we need to make sure they have all the tools they need to make an informed decision when it comes to picking the right program.

The sad truth is that there are people out there who are less interested in helping our men and women in uniform get ahead and more interested in making a buck. They bombard potential students with emails and pressure them into making a quick decision. Some of them steer recruits towards high-interest loans and mislead them about credit transfers and job placement programs. One of the worst examples was a college recruiter who visited a Marine barracks and enrolled Marines with brain injuries so severe that some of them couldn't recall what courses the recruiter had signed them up for.

That's appalling. It's disgraceful. And even though the vast majority of schools do the right thing, we need to guard against the bad actors who don't.

That's why, on Friday, I signed an Executive Order making life a whole lot more secure for our service members, veterans and their families -- and a whole lot tougher for anyone who tries to prey on them.

We're making sure veterans and service members get a simple fact sheet called "Know Before You Owe" that lays out all the information they need about financial aid and paying for college. We're requiring schools to offer counseling to help students finish their degree even if they have to move or deploy. And we're stepping up our efforts to fight dishonest recruiters by strengthening rules about who can come on base and making it easier to file complaints.

When our men and women in uniform succeed, our country succeeds. They have our back -- now it's our turn to have theirs. And as long as I'm President, I'm going to make sure that anyone who serves this country gets every opportunity they deserve.

Thank you, and have a great weekend.


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