Save Student Choice: Private-Sector Schools Work With, And For, GIs

Private-Sector Schools Work With, And For, GIs
By William R. Looney III

Active-duty servicemembers and veterans have defended our liberty. We should defend their freedom to choose among the various alternatives for higher education.

The post-9/11 GI Bill greatly expanded benefits for those who wear the uniform. Unfortunately, many lawmakers continue to view higher education as something delivered only on a traditional college campus.

I disagree. Private-sector colleges and universities (PSCUs), sometimes called career colleges, are a very important part of the postsecondary mix. Here’s why these institutions are so vital to our military.

Most military students begin their postsecondary education after joining the military. It is in the military where these individuals acquire a desire for higher education along with the focus and discipline to be successful. Given the demands of their service, these individuals usually spend years away from the traditional classroom setting. Therefore to serve the servicemember’s educational needs, postsecondary education must be flexible and adaptable. In the case of deployed soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, it must be available where and when it is needed, no matter the time or the setting.

Postsecondary educational institutions must recognize that mobility is critical and credits should be easily transferable. Servicemembers do not get to pick when and where they serve. An educational system that only offers the traditional in-residence classroom, liberal arts-andsciences model misses the reality of military life. Deployments play havoc with the educational plans of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. Service in combat zones adds an obvious set of complications to completing assignments and remaining on schedule to complete a degree. Military-friendly colleges and universities must understand and adapt.

Part of adaptation requires the educational institution to provide a range of academic and support services: career-focused programs that expedite the transition from military to civilian workforce, reasonable leave-of-absence policies; enlightened and informed financial aid counseling; and effective credit and SMART transcript reviews to maximize past experience and minimize course redundancy. Undergirding all of this must be a commitment to honest representations about the value of the educational services offered and a commitment to the highest quality of service delivery. All students, whether they have served in the military or not, deserve no less.

But adaptation to support our military students is not just a job for academic institutions. Our elected officials must also understand the need for options to remain open to our servicemembers — and for those options to be unencumbered by the thinking of the past. The popularity of private-sector colleges and universities has recently been called into question, primarily because these schools are just that: popular among military service and veteran students. Like any private school, these institutions do not receive government subsidies. Therefore, tuition at a PSCU costs more than tuition at a public college or university. Private institutions, regardless of their tax status, may simply do a better job of meeting the special interests and requirements of military service and veteran students.

Certainly there are lapses in PSCU education, as there are in traditional higher education. These should be isolated, analyzed and corrected. With unemployment rates for veterans running in the double digits, however, we should tread carefully among our higher-education policy choices. Stigmatizing PSCU education generally for the actions of a few harms military service students and veterans. And building barriers to the delivery of higher education by conjoining federal student aid and military veterans’ earned benefits policies, a step currently contemplated by members of Congress, is counterproductive.

Let’s honor our servicemembers by keeping their postsecondary education options and our thinking open to what works for them.

Gen. William R. Looney III (retired) is a former command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours, including 2,500 in the F-15. He currently consults on national security, serves on numerous boards, and is a leadership/management mentor. His clients include Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Tulsa, Okla., an Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities member institution.

Direct link to article:


Will Congress Look Into Community Colleges?
Paging Tom Harkin…

New Report Shows Taxpayer Money Being Lost On Community College Dropouts:
Nearly $4 Billion Spent On First Year Dropouts At Community Colleges. “Nearly $4 billion was spent by federal, state, and local governments over five years on full-time community college students who dropped out after their first year without completing their certificate or degree programs, according to a new analysis released today by the American Institutes for Research (AIR).” (Press Release, “Community College Dropouts Cost Taxpayers Nearly $4 Billion,” American Institute For Research <> , 10/20/11)
  • Almost $3 Billion Appropriated By State And Local Governments.
  • More Than $240 Million On State Grants To Students.
  • About $660 Million In Federal Student Grants.
  • A Total Of $3.85 Billion In Federal, State, And Local Appropriations And Grants.
(Press Release, “Community College Dropouts Cost Taxpayers Nearly $4 Billion,” American Institute For Research <> , 10/20/11)

“For The 2008/2009 Academic Year...Nearly $1 Billion Of Taxpayer Money Was Spent On First-Year, Full-Time Students Who Dropped Out, About 35 Percent More Than Five Years Earlier. (Press Release, “Community College Dropouts Cost Taxpayers Nearly $4 Billion,” American Institute For Research <> , 10/20/11)

“[T]his Report Shows That Something That Seems So Inexpensive Can In Fact Be Very Costly, Once We Take Into Account The Low Levels Of Student Success.” (Mark Schneider, “The Hidden Costs Of Community Colleges,” American Institutes For Research <> , 10/11)

Mark Schneider, Vice President Of AIR And Author Of Report: “Taxpayers are investing billions of dollars to support students who never complete their first year...And these students are paying tuition, borrowing money, and taking time away from work to pursue certificates or degrees they aren’t getting.” (Press Release, “Community College Dropouts Cost Taxpayers Nearly $4 Billion,” American Institute For Research <> , 10/20/11)

FLASHBACK: Graduation Rate Comparison According To DOE:

Private Colleges & Universities Have Over Double The Graduation Rate For Two-Year Institutions, Nearly Triple That Of Public Institutions [Community Colleges].

Public Institutions: 20.6%
Not-For-Profit Institutions: 48.2%
For-Profit Institutions: 57.7%

(NCES Digest Of Education Statistics, Table 341 <> , 2010)

Student Veterans of America website:Statement on For-Profit Higher Education Institutions

Student Veterans of America website
Posted by Michael Dakduk

Because of the continuing controversy surrounding the conduct of for-profit institutions of higher education, Student Veterans of America would like to make the following positions clear. The Board of Directors has established that:

   1. In the strongest terms, Student Veterans of America condemns the practice of recruiting veterans and military Service members simply to receive their earned educational benefits.

   2. Student Veterans of America recognizes that there are for-profit institutions of higher education that provide excellent education to student veterans, and have not engaged in any deceptive practices.

   3. Student Veterans of America strongly supports changes to the Higher Education Opportunity Act to include VA GI Bill Benefits and military Tuition Assistance benefits as regular federal support to higher education and hence part of the 90 percent of the so called, “90/10 rule” thus removing a financial incentive to recruit veterans and military personnel.

   4. Currently, Student Veterans of America does not have a position on the enactment of “gainful employment” provisions on for-profit institutions without further research being conducted, especially in light of our struggling economy and already high unemployment rates. It is in the interest of every institution of higher learning to take an active role in the career development of their students.

   5. Student Veterans of America will continue to strongly support student veterans and SVA chapters at any type of educational institutions, including for-profits, provided they are treated fairly and were admitted based on their ability to perform in the classroom.

   6. Student Veterans of America will continue to support individual student veterans who have been or are being mistreated at any institution of higher education through mediation and advocacy.

   7. Student Veterans of America highly recommends that all institutes of higher learning examine their retention and drop out rates, especially among veterans and military Service members, and if they are outside national norms, make immediate changes to better support these important populations.

   8. Student Veterans of America respectfully requests that the Department of Education carefully examine accreditation bodies to ensure that the highest standards are met before an institution’s accreditation is granted or renewed.  Further, we ask that confusing or misleading terminologies such as “national accreditation” be publicly clarified or removed.

   9. Student Veterans of America respectfully requests that the Department of Education establish clear guidelines regarding the attainment of college credits, licenses and accreditations, to ensure maximum value, professional development, and transferability is obtained by any student attending any class at any accredited institution.

  10. Student Veterans of America respectfully requests that the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense immediately investigate any claim of impropriety made by a veteran or Service member at any school.

  11. Student Veterans of America will not accept donations or grants from for-profit educational institutions. However, for-profit educational institutions may participate in SVA sponsored or affiliated career fairs as employers. They will be charged the same registration fees as any other employer.

Direct link to article:

Guidance for APSCU Members -- The Misrepresentation Rule and Third- Party Vendors

TO: APSCU Members

FROM: APSCU Student Recruitment Task Force - Jim Hutton, Mitch Talenfeld, Peter
Leyton, Dave Wengel, David Meiling, Erin Fitzgerald, Gregory O`Brien, Jason
Pistillo, John Birmingham, Ken Horne, Mark Harris, Roger Swartzwelder, Steven
R. Isaac, Bob Cohen, Katherine Brodie

CC: Art Keiser, Chairman

DATE: October 11, 2011

RE: Guidance for APSCU Members -- The Misrepresentation Rule and Third-
Party Vendors.

This memo transmits the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (“APSCU”) Student Recruitment Task Force (“Task Force”), Guidance for APSCU Members -- The Misrepresentation Rule and Third-Party Vendors. This guidance document concerns the U.S. Department of Education’s (“ED”) misrepresentation rule, which is one of several requirements for institutional eligibility to participate in title IV programs (“Title IV Programs”) under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (“HEA”), and certain third-party vendors (“Third-Party Vendors”). This guidance document is limited to general explanations of compliance responsibilities and potential liabilities under the misrepresentation rule and general guidance
related to advertising and marketing activities.

The APSCU Board of Directors requested that the Task Force develop a guidance document with regard to the regulatory risks that can be posed to members (“Institutions”) by the conduct of third-party vendors retained by Institutions for student recruitment services. The Task Force has developed the attached general guidance to assist Institutions with taking reasonable steps to help to reduce the risks that can be posed by the conduct of Third-Party Vendors, including inquiry (lead) generators, under the misrepresentation rule.

Institutions seeking to become or remain eligible to participate in Title IV Programs must be familiar with the misrepresentation rule. The HEA permits the ED to suspend or terminate from participation in Title IV Programs an institution that engages in “substantial misrepresentation of the nature of its educational program, its financial charges, or the employability of its graduates.” Effective July 1, 2011, new regulations intended to improve the integrity in Title IV Programs amend the requirements for Institutional Eligibility under the HEA related to, among many areas, misrepresentation to define more broadly the nature of such misrepresentations and expand the sanctions that the ED may impose for substantial misrepresentations. That term now includes
any false, erroneous or misleading statement that has the likelihood or tendency to deceive or
confuse without regard to materiality or intent.

Please click here to read the complete memo

Sun- Sentinel: Career colleges play key role in state education

Sun -Sentinel
By Kathy Mizereck and Brian Moran

We agree with your recent editorial that student loan defaults are a serious matter. But students default for many reasons. Those attending private-sector colleges and universities often start farther back in life's pack economically. Now, they must cope as harsh economic conditions constrain jobs and upward mobility.
We urge a variety of steps to bring down default rates, including student education about loans, borrowing obligations and effective budgeting; limiting lending amounts to costs related to tuition, books and fees; and full disclosure on the costs and potential rewards of pursuing a given career field.
While effective regulatory oversight is part of that solution, playing the blame game with the Commission for Independent Education is not. The commission has no authority regarding student loans, but does have a long-standing record of effective oversight. In the past three months alone, the commission has:
Conducted 131 visits to institutions to gauge compliance
Issued four notices of non-compliance to institutions that appeared to be operating illegally
Referred one institution to the Office of the Attorney General for unlicensed activity
Responded to 92 percent of student complaints within seven calendar days of receipt, with an average of 24 days to case closure
We are confident the economy will improve and default rates will decrease. Both federal laws as well as U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting agencies will continue to serve as a check on abuses. And common sense steps that institutions can take can go a long way to improving the situation now and in the future.

Direct link to article:,0,5023205.story#tugs_story_display
Kathy Mizereck is executive director of the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges, and Brian Moran is interim president and CEO of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities.