Recently, the U.S. Department of Education came out with new guidance for the practices surrounding how colleges present information to veterans’ about GI Bill educational benefits. Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for schools to over-promise veterans’ or mislead them toward financially irresponsible practices. In some cases, students are asked to take out unnecessary loans to bridge gaps in benefit payouts. This has led to a considerable number of complaints from veterans, active service members, and military families.
The Office of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Education, and veteran supportive program like Veterans Upward Bound have found that they need to work together to provide accurate and appropriate information to veterans, and service-connected families.
“All institutions are responsible for providing accurate information to prospective and current students, including military-connected students,” said Jason Altmire, president, and CEO of Career Education Colleges and Universities.
It’s disheartening to hear that colleges without a veterans program may misalign allocate funding that are intended to support veteran students. The Veterans Education Success group issued a statement this week:
“We thank FSA for warning schools to stop tricking veterans into loans they didn’t want or need,” the group’s president, Carrie Wofford, said in a statement. “This is the single top issue we hear about in the thousands of veteran complaints we receive. Veterans who have the GI Bill are understandably angry when they find out that a school took out student loans in their name without their knowledge.”
To be clear, not all degree or certificate programs are accredited for GI Bill Benefits. To find out if a program at your college of choice is accredited for GI Bill payments use the resource WEAMS INSTITUTION SEARCH or discuss your education plans with a Veterans Upward Bound program. Veteran and military-connected students have a finite number of months to complete a degree program which is detailed in your Certificate of Eligibility which can be obtained at www.va.gov Additionally, veterans and military-connected students may qualify for the Department of Education student loan program. However, they will be subject to loan repayment. We recommend you talk with a finance education program like OKMoneyMatters if you are considering taking an education loan. If you want to compare how far your educational benefits will go toward an education the VA has developed a tool to help veterans compare schools GI Bill Comparison Tool
Veterans Upward Bound is a support network for veterans as they enter postsecondary education. We help veterans with school choice, and how to navigate the many bottlenecks that come with using your VA Educational Benefits. If you are considering entering a postsecondary institution within the next couple of years we are here to help.
The full article appeared in HigherEd Dive