Roundtable to assess veterans education

Nearly 70 years after it ushered the first GI Bill into law, veterans education is still a chief priority for The American Legion. The issue will be addressed at length at the organization’s 94th National Convention in Indianapolis during the Education Roundtable – an event that welcomes school administrators, government officials and veterans advocates to share their thoughts on veterans’ experiences in academia.

Representatives from Indiana University, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Student Veterans of America and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will be among those converging on the Indianapolis downtown Marriott Hotel today to discuss pending education legislation and issues that veterans face at post-secondary institutions.

A chief topic is expected to be the business practices of for-profit schools in their targeting of veterans, servicemembers and military families who have generous education benefits to spend at their institutions. The issue has recently received considerable attention due to a massive report released by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, that questioned for-profit institutions’ recruitment of veterans. The report found that schools were exploiting a loophole around the "90-10 rule," which prohibits institutions from generating more than 90 percent of their revenue from federal sources, like GI Bill aid and loans. Harkin’s committee found that some institutions report data from multiple campuses and swap those campuses in and out of groupings to keep below the 90 percent ceiling.

Since passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill three years ago, The American Legion has expressed concern about recruitment tactics from for-profit schools, as well as high dropout rates among veteran students at these institutions. In October of 2011, Legion leadership adopted a resolution to "Support Regulation of For-Profit Schools and State Approving Agencies" to address such concerns.

The Education Roundtable will also review pending education legislation like the GI Bill Education Freedom Act of 2012, which would require veterans to receive education counseling before they use their benefits, and the GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act of 2012, a similar bill that would require veterans to be given information and protections for making informed decisions about using their benefits.

Check and other Legion media during the 94th National Convention for full coverage of the Education Roundtable and other Economic Division events.