Last evening, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a veteran and Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, introduced an amendment to protect the educational benefits of our nation's military service members and veterans. The amendment, based on Sen. Carper's Military and Veterans Education Protection Act (MVEP), was filed as part as S. 3457, Veterans Jobs Corps Act, which would create a veterans job corps to train and pay veterans to perform public works projects and serve in law enforcement and first responder jobs throughout the country.
Sen. Carper's amendment would close a loophole in current law known as the 90/10 rule that has incentivized some bad actors in the for-profit education industry to aggressively pressure veterans and active duty military to use their education benefits at their school through pressure tactics, dishonest sales pitches and misleading advertisements. The measure would modify the financial aid formula that limits a for-profit college from receiving no more than 90 percent of its revenue from taxpayer-subsided sources to ensure that tuition payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and the Department of Defense's (DOD) Tuition Assistance program are counted as federal dollars rather than as private dollars.
The measure changes the 90/10 formula so that tuition received by for-profit schools from military and veteran education benefits are counted as federal dollars on the 90 percent side of the 90/10 formula rather than as private dollars on the 10 percent side. For-profit schools would then have to ensure that at least 10 percent of their revenue comes from truly non-federal sources of funding. The legislation would also amend current law so that if a for-profit school is out of compliance with the 90/10 rule for two consecutive years, it would lose eligibility to accept not only Pell Grant and federal student aid dollars, but also new veterans and military education benefit payments. Schools will regain their eligibility once they take a series of steps toward compliance, which is unchanged from current law.
"I believe we have a moral imperative to ensure that those who have sacrificed for our country obtain the best education possible, one that will equip them with the skills they need to find a good job, repay their college loans, and go on to live productive lives," said Sen. Carper. "We must focus on how we can fix current problems within the higher education system by better encouraging all schools to deliver a higher quality education to our military and veteran populations. This amendment is a responsible approach to an important issue, one that has been vetted with and is supported by many veterans and military service groups and leaders. Together, the Veterans Jobs Corps Act and my amendment take important steps to fulfill our responsibility to ensure that our heroes have the proper resources and support to re-enter the workforce once they arrive home."
Under current law, revenues a school receives from Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) financial aid programs -- like the Tuition Assistance Program and the Post-9/11 GI Bill -- are not counted the same as the Department of Education's (DOE) federal student aid. This has led to a series of problems among some bad actors within the for-profit education industry, where school recruiters seek to enroll as many veterans or military students as possible through unscrupulous recruitment tactics or dishonest marketing practices. Once enrolled, many of our service members and veterans using their federally funded benefits don't always receive a quality education, unfairly impacting not only our service members and veterans, but also American taxpayers.
The Military and Veterans Education Protection Act (S.2116) was introduced in February. Joining Sen. Carper in sponsoring the legislation were Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.). Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C) also introduced a bipartisan companion bill in the House of Representatives.