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McCaskill: Support our Servicemembers with Access to Top Education

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

U.S Senator Claire McCaskill introduced the Military and Veterans Education Protection Act along with Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.) to improve current laws regarding education benefits for servicemembers and veterans so that federal education dollars cannot be abused by for-profit colleges.

Currently, colleges may only receive 90% of their funds from federal education programs. They must accrue at least 10% of their resources from private sources. This is referred to as the 90/10 financial aid formula. However, a loophole in law allows colleges to count education aid funding provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and the Department of Defense's (DOD) Tuition Assistance program as private dollars. The Military and Veterans Education Protection Act would close this loophole and ensure colleges-primarily for-profit colleges-cannot use veteran student aid to meet the requirement to have at least 10% of their resources come from private sources.

"We are a nation that treasures, honors and respects those who serve to protect our freedom," said McCaskill. "One way we keep that promise is supporting our servicemembers, veterans and their families in receiving an education so they can transition as seamlessly as possible from service to civilian life. Through this plan we will make certain that educational institutions share that commitment. We must ensure veterans cannot be taken advantage of and protect American tax dollars from being wasted."

The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and the Tuition Assistance program provide our nation's active servicemembers and veterans with the most comprehensive benefits since World War II. It has been widely reported that the for-profit education industry has used recruiters to enroll as many veterans or military students as possible through aggressive recruitment tactics and, in some cases, dishonest marketing practices. Once enrolled, some servicemembers and veterans using their federally funded benefits do not receive a quality education, unfairly impacting not only our servicemembers and veterans, but also American taxpayers.

This bill would change the 90/10 formula so that a for-profit school's revenues from DOD and VA programs 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. The legislation would also amend current law so that if a school is out of compliance for two consecutive years, it would lose eligibility to accept not only new Department of Education dollars, but also new DOD and VA dollars. Schools could regain their eligibility once they take a series of steps toward compliance, which is unchanged from current law.

The Military and Veterans Education Protection Act is supported by several veterans and student groups including: Student Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, VetJobs, and the Military Officers Association of America. A bipartisan companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives

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