A Call to End For-Profit Education in the U.S. Military

For-ProfitInset2It’s time to do away with for-profit education (FPE) in the U.S. military. Since 2012 when I initially covered the topic of for-profit providers and the resulting misfortunes on the education of military veterans, it has proven problematic and been mired in controversy. At that time, the Student Veterans Association (SVA) revoked charters at dozens of for-profit education campuses because of recruitment violations and misuse of federal funds.

Nevertheless, the U.S. government has indirectly subsidized FPE in the amount of hundreds of millions of dollars over the past several years, which has negatively impacted thousands of veterans. It continues to disproportionately apply to the military because for-profit education providers heavily recruit (a.k.a., prey upon) military students and their families. This is evident from one of my previous posts in which I identified that more than 80% of Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits were going to for-profit education.

New studies and data have been released by reputable sources on for-profit education below. This information has allowed me to organize a list of decisive reasons why we need to pull the plug on for-profit education in the military now. Military MBA has also organized a petition to stop FPE in the military. You don’t need to identify yourself. Just reply here and send in your request. With a hundred emails of veteran support we can
start an action movement and make this call to end for-profit education in the military stick. Thanks for your support.

The federal government has imposed huge fines on for-profit education providers which have resulted in school closures and caused significant drops in admissions.

(As reported in PC Magazine)
“The Chronicle of Higher Education, called the implosion of Corinthian College a game-changer when it comes to the regulation of for-profit schools.

After the U.S. Department of Education served Corinthian with a $30 million fine for engaging in predatory lending and illegal collection tactics, the for-profit education provider closed the last of its 28 campuses. In addition to upending the educations of 16,000 current students, the closure leaves alumni without a credentialed alma mater. Last month, the government announced that at least 40,000 students who took out loans to enroll in programs at the Corinthian-owned Herald College would be eligible for loan forgiveness. Estimates suggest that taxpayers may have to foot a half-billion-dollar bill for the pernicious activities of a private company.

Well before Corinthian’s closure, the for-profit sector began to contract. Between 2010-2011, for-profit schools reported falling admissions. The publicly traded Kaplan Higher Education reported a staggering 42 percent drop between 2010 and 2011; earlier this year, Kaplan sold all 38 of its campuses to Education Corporation of America. Meanwhile, Education Management Corporation recently announced that it’s phasing out 15 campus locations,
and Career Education Corp will shutter all but two of its universities.

Perhaps the most notorious for-profit, University of Phoenix, has shrunk most dramatically. Between 2010 and 2016, the school will have shed more than two-thirds of its student body, contracting from 460,000 to about 150,000 students.”

The purge in for-profit education has left hundreds of thousands of students without recognized credentials, which is the #1 reason why most military students obtain a college degree. To make matters worse all that’s left for these students now to show for their aspirations and efforts is debt. The data below on student loan debt tells a revealing story and supports our call to end support of FPE in the military.

According to The Institute for College Access & Success nearly all for-profit students take out student loans (96 percent), compared to about half at four-year public universities (48 percent) and private non-profit schools (57 percent), and just one-in-eight at community colleges (13 percent).

A recent study by the Center for American Progress finds that just 20 universities account for nearly one-fifth of all grad student debt, totaling $6.6 billion. Who are these universities? 10 of the top 20 are for-profit schools.

Despite serving just 12 percent of all college students, for-profits account for 44 percent of all student loan defaults (The Institute for College Access & Success). By comparison, public four-year universities serve more than a third of college students, but comprise just a fifth of loan defaults.

While student debt is a material problem throughout higher education, graduates of non-profit institutions are much more likely to finish their degrees and graduate with less debt.

If military students and their families cannot apply their education towards better career and employment opportunities, everyone involved is wasting their time and resources.

(According to PC Magazine)
“Last fall the administration announced ‘gainful employment’ regulations, through which the Department of Education will evaluate schools based upon their graduates’ performance in the workforce. The rule took effect at the beginning of this month, and it is expected to result in the closure of 1,400 programs enrolling nearly a million students, 99 percent of which attend for-profit schools (really).”

The recent closures, reductions, defaults and inabilities to land jobs/employment following education have left hundreds of thousands of students without recognized credentials. The military students we have served for the past decade clearly understand that degrees are credentials and credentials, not degrees, are what represents value.

(According to Forbes)
“The problem here is that these schools (i.e., for-profit education providers) offer terrible value for the money. There’s little debate (except from the schools themselves) that these schools have very low standards for admission. The only requirement seems to be money, and if you don’t have it, they will help you borrow it (often from the federal government). The degrees themselves are barely worth the paper they are printed on, because the reputations of most of these schools are–well, let’s just say they aren’t good. Graduate degrees do improve your career choices, if you get them from a well-regarded institution. But when the school isn’t even ranked in the top 200, a degree isn’t going to open any doors, and it’s certainly not worth borrowing tens of thousands of dollars to get one.”

While determining a school’s reputation can be subjective, graduates of non-profit institutions are much more likely to earn credentials and identify with a school that has some type of meaningful reputation within society and among employer organizations.

For-profit education is a horrible remedy for the problems of an ailing system in higher education. It has become a huge distraction and enormous drain on the resources of our military. Join us and together we can put an end to for-profit education in the military now!

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