The Department of Veterans Affairs Is Suspending Educational Benefits

According to a Military Times article, the Department of Veterans Affairs is suspending educational benefits for new students at 5 universities:

  • University of Phoenix
  • Colorado Technical University
  • American InterContinental University
  • Bellevue University
  • Temple University

The VA is doing this because the schools have violated US law that prohibits illegal, “advertising, sales, or enrollment practices.”

Who Is Impacted By the Education Benefits Suspension?

This suspension applies to new enrollees who are both in residence and online.

This will be effective as of May 9, 2020. An email that was sent out to congressional offices included, “unless the schools can provide contrary evidence to refute the evidence provided that supports VA’s conclusion.”

Are Currently Enrolled Students Affected?

If students are already enrolled and using their GI Bill at these schools, they can continue to do so, as long as there are no breaks in enrollment.

The goal of all of this is to of course protect military-connected students. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not want them to be taken advantage of. They feel that the schools have done just that.

Ahead of this announcement, veterans groups were preparing information packets for students wanting to know what is going on. The VA is also encouraging students with questions to contact the Department Education Call Center at 888-442-4551.

According to the VA, over 15,000 GI Bill students attend the University of Phoenix online, with around 9,000 students at a physical location. From these students, there have been nearly 600 complaints, with over half about financial issues and student loans. They also had complaints about educational quality and marking practices.

Within the other schools, there are nearly 2,000 students attending American InterContinental University, over 5,000 at Colorado Technical University, nearly 1,000 at Temple University, and 1,500 at Bellevue University.

Previous Settlements

A settlement was reached between the FTC and Career Education, which is the parent company of Colorado Technical University and American InterContinental University, for $30 million, with them agreeing to pay an additional $500 million.

The FTC also reached a $191 million settlement with the University of Phoenix and its parent company over deceptive advertising practices. And then, in December of 2019, Temple University reached a settlement with the Attorney General of Pennsylvania regarding alleged deceptive marketing practices.

The responses by the schools suggest that they did nothing wrong and did not mislead students. However, the lawmakers will continue to keep them accountable. This change is going to be part of it. You can read more about this here.