Veterans would have greater protection from for-profit colleges who seek to take advantage of their GI Bill benefits, under a measure now pending before the House. If passed, the bill would close a loophole that essentially allows these companies to operate outside of the federal guideline that stipulates no more than 90 percent of the revenue they take in can come from non-federal sources.
“Current federal laws permit bad actors in the for-profit education industry to take advantage of our veterans,” said Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., who sponsored the legislation. “It is unacceptable and un-American that some for-profit institutions continue to use our veterans’ hard-earned benefits to line their own pockets.”
The Bill, known as the Defending all Veterans in Education (DAVIE) Act, would reclassify GI Bill benefits as federal student aid. This, the benefits would fall under the requirement that no more than 90 percent of all profits an educational institution derives would come from federal aid.
The bill actually would go a step further, adjusting the income ratio to 80 percent federal and 20 percent non-federal. The idea is to ensure that schools seeking GI Bill funds are truly sustainable and able to earn income through other sources.
Reps. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., and Gil Cisneros, D-Calif., are co-sponsoring the legislation.
Advocacy groups for service members and veterans are hailing the legislation. The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), High Ground Veterans Advocacy, Florida Veterans for Common sense, Military Child Education Coalition, Military Veterans Advocacy, American Legion, The Retired Enlisted Association, Wounded Warriors Project, Veterans for Common Sense, and AMVETS have all endorsed it.
“When unscrupulous institutions look to make a quick dollar off of service members and other military-connected students, we must seek restoration … and ensure accountability to prevent others from being ensnared by false claims and predatory practices,” said retired Lt. Gen. Data T. Atkins, MOAA’s president and chief executive officer.
The measure “would help strengthen the GI Bill and protect veterans from predatory institutions that in recent years have taken their hard-earned benefits and absconded,” said Joe Chenelly, AMVETS’ national executive director.