We agree that the federal government should “stop backing loans to for-profit colleges that leave their students with no hope of gainful employment” (“Feds should own student loan program,” Editorial, Feb. 3). However, the Globe’s editorial left out a large and vulnerable population of students who are being preyed upon by these schools: our military veterans.
Like generations before them, veterans view the GI Bill as an opportunity for higher education. For-profit colleges, however, see it as an easy revenue stream. Branding themselves as “military-friendly,” they target veterans with deceptive marketing and recruiting practices. Promises of a quality education and “guaranteed jobs” are not delivered.
Many of these colleges and their degree programs aren’t properly accredited, leaving students unqualified to work in their chosen professions. Veterans exhaust their GI Bill benefits and build mountains of student loan debt, while receiving nontransferable credits, worthless degrees, or no degrees at all.
It’s time for Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs to step it up. For-profit schools lacking appropriate accreditation should be prohibited from receiving government loans and GI Bill benefits, and they should be required to publicly disclose any conditions or additional training requirements needed to obtain a legitimate degree or certificate. It would be a disservice both to veterans and taxpayers not to extend these basic protections.
The writer is an Iraq War veteran and the executive director of the Veterans’ Student Loan Relief Fund, a nonprofit organization providing loan-relief grants to qualified veterans.