In the world of unethical business practices, almost nothing is more despicable than preying on soldiers.
So everyone can be glad that Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and 19 of his fellow AGs have shut down deceptive marketing of for-profit colleges by a site called GIBill.com.
The California company, QuinStreet Inc., which operated the site, also agreed to pay $2.5 million as part of a settlement announced recently, though denying that it had engaged in deception.
While appearing to be run by the Department of Defense, GIBill.com gave the impression that vets could use their benefits only at the schools it listed and referred all contacts to the for-profits that were paying it. …
It’s hard to say what the vets are getting in return.
In response to complaints that students of many for-profit schools are being saddled with huge education debts while receiving few if any marketable skills or transferable credits, the Obama administration imposed eligibility standards for schools to receive federal financial aid. But the standards are weak and enforcement is still three years away.
What the for-profit education chains are getting is rich. …
Enrolling vets provides a double bonus to the for-profits. Federal law restricts colleges to receiving no more than 90 percent of their revenue from federal student financial aid programs such as Pell Grants. But federal education benefits to veterans don’t count against the 90 percent limit. So enrolling vets enables the for-profits to enroll more recipients of federal financial aid.
Congressional efforts to get a better handle on whether taxpayers are getting good value for the public dollars pouring into for-profit education have all but ended because the industry “owns every lobbyist in town,” said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. at a Washington press conference last week at which the GIBill.com settlement was announced.
Congress’s reluctance makes consumer protection efforts by the states even more vital, especially as the issue takes on a more partisan tone with GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney making a point to praise for-profit schools.
It’s good the group of AGs working with Democrat Conway on for-profit education issues includes members of both parties.
— Distributed by The Associated Press