U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill's fight to prevent for-profit colleges from taking advantage of service veterans' educational benefits received a boost from a bipartisan group of Attorneys General of 22 states, who signed a letter supporting her efforts.
Under current law, due to a provision known as the "90/10 rule," for-profit colleges cannot receive more than 90% of their funding from Title IV funding sources, which includes all federal college loans. In order to work around this requirement, some for-profit institutions have begun aggressively targeting and taking advantage of veterans, whose educational benefits do not count toward the 90% total. The McCaskill-supported bill would remove this loophole, ending any incentive to specifically target veterans' benefits.
"Cashing in on these educational benefits at the expense of our veterans is wrong," McCaskill said. "I don't like loopholes in the tax code, I don't like loopholes in the form of earmarks, and I sure as heck don't like loopholes that lead to groups taking advantage of our veterans-veterans who've sacrificed so much, have earned their benefits, and ought to be respected, not used for profit making."
The bipartisan group of Attorneys General, representing states from South Carolina to California, focused on the rise of this predatory practice since the 2008 Post 9/11 GI Bill was passed, and follows criticism from national media outlets. That bill, which McCaskill was a vocal proponent of, expanded educational opportunities for military veterans, including generally providing full tuition assistance for those veterans pursuing a college degree.
"We urge you to take action to close this loophole, protect our tax dollars and protect our service members from these predatory practices," the letter reads.
McCaskill has been an outspoken advocate for military veterans since coming to the Senate in 2006, and was a founding member of The Veterans Jobs Caucus. She was as a leading advocate for the Vow to Hire Veterans Act, and has repeatedly rallied support for additional care for veterans returning from combat duty. Next week, McCaskill will chair a Senate hearing on the hiring of military veterans.