How are For-Profit Universities Targeting Veterans?

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding “for profit” colleges and their aggressive marketing towards low income and veteran students. Read on to learn why the FTC along with individuals are taking these institutions to task for taking advantage of those who feel as though they need a college degree the most.

Resource: Top 15 Online Colleges for Military and G.I. Bill 2015

Inflated Job Promises, Inflated Hopes

One of the biggest predatory moves for-profit universities played against veterans was the exaggeration of job promises. According to NPR, DeVry University mislead veteran students and others with claims that graduates of the institution make more money. The University also claimed that 90-percent of its graduates were able to find work in their field. These claims are top evidence in a lawsuit against DeVry by the FTC. The sad truth is: veterans are working hard to earn degrees to get better jobs, and then are told their degrees are not of a standard that deserves employment within their desired workplaces.

More Money For Less Education

During the probe of student financials leading to suits alleging colleges were taking advantage of veteran students, it was discovered that for-profit colleges and universities were charging nearly twice as much in tuition fees as public universities. This left the military to pay for incredibly high bills for degrees that had little to no value. The US Senate found that out of the GI Bill benefits for the 2012-2013 school year, one-quarter of the money went to merely eight for-profit colleges.

How Can This Happen?

With all the limelight being cast on these institutions after lawsuits and heavy media coverage, why are veteran and low-income students still signing up for these degree programs? The answer is simple. When an individual’s term in the military is up, they no longer have the strict routine provided by their time in service. They typically think of two options: get a job or go back to school.

In desperate times, predatory institutions use marketing techniques to seem like the perfect option.

  • They allow students to enroll and start classes any time, so there’s no need to wait for a semester to start. This helps them to enroll students that are signing up for college impulsively, with promises of a better quality of life in the future for signing up now.
  • They will accept nearly any application. Grades and ability do not matter to predatory colleges.

How does a company manage to continue defrauding the government and its soldiers? Why hasn’t the government stopped for profit schools from preying on veteran students? The answer to these questions can be found in a loophole for a bill that bars for profit higher education institutions from collecting more than 90% of a student’s tuition from federal need-based aid; and some forms of financial aid, including funding for the GI Bill, do not count as federal need-based aid.

How To Avoid Predatory Degree Programs

Not all for profit colleges are bad; and on the other hand, not all of them are good. You can ensure you are enrolling to study with one of the “good guys” by asking the right questions.

  • What accreditation does the college or university hold? National accreditation, held by many for profit schools, is not considered to be as acceptable as regional accreditation by many employers and graduate degree programs.
  • Is there a less expensive, comparable degree available nearby at a public community college or university?If so, consider this as a better option before signing on the dotted line.

Only you can truly protect yourself against predatory higher-learning institutions. Do your research, shop around, and choose the degree that is not only right for you, but is offered by a college with your best interest in mind.