SEE RIGHT AWAY HOW THIS VIOLATES FEDERAL FUNDING AND EQUAL PROTECTION?
In neo-conservative cities like Baltimore we see the Hopkins, MICA, Goucher, Stevenson University students serving as VISTAs in all kinds of K-12 after-school, in school programs. These are the pricey private universities that will have students graduating with $60,000-100,000 in student debt----and you know it----they are the ones getting the 5 year total student loan 'forgiveness'. Meanwhile, the middle/working class/poor/and immigrant students having on average $20, 000 -30,000 in student debt are being placed in the 10 year student debt 'forgiveness'. By the end of 10 years of paying student loans each month---those middle/working/poor/immigrant students will have paid almost all of what they owe---THERE IS NO DEBT FORGIVENESS FOR THE MOST PART FOR THOSE IN 10 YEAR PLANS. Add to that how hard it is to stay with one job----to stay employed for 10 years and VOILA-----there is no student debt forgiveness for over 80% of Americans----and student grads from expensive private universities like Hopkins not only get 'forgiveness'----but hundreds of thousands of dollars in forgiveness faster. They are on their way to a career while the other over 80% are tied to indenture for most of their young adulthood.
THAT IS WHAT CLINTON/OBAMA NEO-LIBERALS DO----THEY WORK FOR THE RICH AND GLOBAL CORPORATIONS AND KILL 90% OF AMERICANS. REPUBLICANS OF COURSE WANTED NO FORGIVENESS.
FEDERAL LAWS OF EQUAL PROTECTION AND FEDERAL EDUCATION FUNDING DO NOT ALLOW THESE MULTIPLE TIERS OF REPAYMENT JUST BECAUSE THEY LEAD TO DISCRIMINATION AND FAVORITISM.
Which Wall Street banks handle which of these Federal student loans from Perkins to Federal Family Education Loan Program---they are simply manipulating all these once equally distributed student loans between banks that then determine the repayment schemes. You push lower-income citizens facing hardship in finding jobs into the 10 year plan and then soak them with fees, fines, and kick them out just before the 10 years.
Ivy League student get total forgiveness of expensive student debt in 5 years-----others battle with a criminal Wall Street student loan collection corporation for 10 years. Remember forgiveness means the Federal student loan guarantee is paid by taxpayers------
THAT IS OBAMA AND CLINTON NEO-LIBERAL'S GOALS WITH THIS 'STUDENT DEBT FORGIVENESS' FROM HELL.
Understand 4 Income-Driven Student Loan Repayment Plans
The number of different student loan repayment plans can make it hard to figure out if one fits your needs – and bank account. Eligibility for income-driven plans depends in part on the type of student loans borrowed and the date they were first disbursed.
By Ryan Lane Aug. 27, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. + More
Borrowers can choose from nearly 10 different payment arrangements, some of which seem awfully similar, especially those that use income to determine payment amounts.
The government offers the following plans: income-based repayment, income-contingent repayment, income-sensitive repayment and Pay As You Earn. These names may sound like synonyms, but they don’t mean the same thing to your loans.
To help you tell them apart, here’s a quick overview of these plans.
[Learn what you need to know about Obama's new student loan plan.]
1. Income-based repayment: If you qualify for income-based repayment, it’s arguably the best income-driven plan. Income-based repayment actually comes in two versions: a new plan for borrowers who received their first loan disbursement as of July 1, 2014, and the old plan, for everyone else.
Some significant changes make the latest income-based plan new and improved. With the old plan, any amount left on a loan after 25 years of repayment – or 10 years if you work in the public or nonprofit sector – and 300 eligible payments, is forgiven.
That requirement drops to 20 years and 240 payments with the new plan. In addition, the old plan limits payments to no more than 15 percent of your discretionary income. That limit is 10 percent for the new plan.
In order to qualify, you have to have a partial financial hardship. This means that your income-based payment would need to be lower than your regular monthly payment.
2. Pay As You Earn: Pay As You Earn works similarly to the new IBR plan. In fact, the government put it into place in 2012 to provide recent borrowers with the benefits of the new IBR plan before it went into effect in 2014.
Both plans offer forgiveness after 20 years or 240 payments, as well as payment caps at 10 percent of your discretionary income. However, Pay As You Earn comes with stricter eligibility requirements, which may make it more difficult for you to qualify.
To qualify, you must be a new borrower as of Oct. 1, 2007. That means you either have no federal loans made before that date or you paid off all prior federal loans before borrowing again on or after that date.
In addition, you must have at least one Stafford loan or Grad PLUS loan disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2011. You can also have a consolidation loan as long as the consolidation did not repay any loans disbursed prior to Oct. 1, 2007.
[Get more tips and advice on paying for college.]
President Barack Obama has proposed expanding eligibility to all federal loan borrowers but that option will probably not be available until late 2015. To initially qualify for Pay As You Earn, you must have a partial financial hardship.
3. Income-contingent repayment: This plan is similar to the old version of income-based repayment, but its eligibility requirements are much simpler. You just have to have loans from the direct loan program to qualify.
Like the old IBR, your remaining loan balance is forgiven after 25 years of payments – 300 total. Income-contingent repayment caps your potential payments at 20 percent of your discretionary income. Income-contingent repayment also does not count loans outside of the direct loan program when calculating your total debt. This could make your potential payments under income-contingent repayment even more expensive than they would be under the income-based plan.
This is the only income-related payment plan that Parent PLUS loans are eligible for, and even then they must be consolidated under the direct loan program before applying for income-based repayment.
[Understand the pieces of your student loan payment.]
4. Income-sensitive repayment: Income-sensitive repayment is only available to borrowers with Federal Family Education Loan Program loans. This program has not issued new loans since July 1, 2010. It is also the only payment plan where the borrower gets to choose his or her monthly payment amount.
You do not have to qualify for this plan; rather, you select a monthly payment amount between 4 percent and 25 percent of your monthly income. Payments must be greater than or equal to the interest accruing on your loan, and you can only use this plan for up to five years. Income-sensitive repayment does not come with the chance for loan forgiveness.
If you have FFELP loans, you can see if this plan makes sense for you, however, you may be better off consolidating your loans into the direct loan program and applying for the new income-based repayment, Pay As You Earn or income-contingent repayment plans. FFELP loans are eligible for the older form of income-based repayment.
Each of these plans has many more details and eligibility requirements than covered here. Be sure to do your research to figure out the best one for you.
In addition, remember that extending your repayment period, which each of these plans may do, means you could pay more over the life of your loan, even with the chance for loan forgiveness. So, ultimately, the standard repayment plan may still be your best bet if you can afford it.
As this article shows----huge student loan debt with the poorest mirrors the selling of subprime mortgage loans to this same group------Wall Street used these citizens to fleece Federal agencies knowing these citizens would be saddled with lots of debt. IT IS CALLED PREMEDITATED FRAUD AND INCUMBENT POLS WORKED TO ALLOW WALL STREET TO DO THIS.
It is this large sector that will be tied to 10 year indenture trying to get rid of student loans to higher education that was usually the same for-profit higher education corporations found to have committed $1 trillion in corporate fraud----ALL THIS STUDENT LOAN DEBT SIMPLY NEEDS TO BE VOIDED AS FRAUD. Then you see the working and middle-class coming in next to these student loans as university tuition soared as Clinton/Obama and Bush made public universities into corporate campuses using students as free labor in research and development and human resources. THAT IS THE ONLY REASON UNIVERSITY TUITION IS SO HIGH----REVERSE CORPORATIZATION OF UNIVERSITIES---LOWER TUITION.
Then as if that was not enough, Bush in completely deregulating the Federal student loan program privatized to Wall Street the process of lending and of course Wall Street gave loans to anyone with a pulse AND TO FAMILIES RICH ENOUGH TO PAY CASH FOR TUITION. So, what was once a Federal program for low-income families to send children to college last decade had wealthy families taking Federal student loans KNOWING THE NEXT STEP WAS TO ALLOW THIS 'FORGIVENESS'. This is how citizens with $100,000 in student debt from attending a Ivy League or expensive private university is now able to do 'public service' for 5 years to eliminate all that debt with taxpayers paying the balance to Wall Street banks. It guarantees Wall Street to get 100% on these bad loans just as they did with the subprime mortgage loan fraud-----AND IT WAS ALL PLANNED FROM CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE POLS.
As you see below----these same for-profit corporate higher education corporations behind most of the fraud and debt to the lower-income citizens are the very same that fill Baltimore City and Maryland-----they are going like crazy-----all kinds of Federal student loans still flowing-----and some like TESST ---one of the worst for fraud----are now calling themselves 'colleges'----giving subprimed degrees to vocational certificate programs. Simply writing this debt off as fraud is what a legitimate Congress and President had a duty to do----rather, Clinton/Obama neo-liberals joined Bush neo-cons in creating an even worse situation for over 80% of Americans----this indenture 'forgiveness'.
'The administration’s nod to the bill, interestingly, was greeted with approval on Wall Street. “Obama’s proposition may encourage Americans to take on more student loan debt,” noted Zack’s, an equity research firm. “This will indeed be a boon for post-secondary education providers like DeVry Education Group Inc., Strayer Education Inc, Apollo Education Group, Inc [Phoenix Universities], Capella Education Co, Universal Technical Institute, Inc. and many more. Share prices of most of these education companies have risen following the announcement.”'
Take time to Google this as the charts are good visuals.
The Student Loan Debt Crisis in 9 Charts
Nearly $1 trillion in debt, millions in unpaid loans: the numbers behind how Americans are struggling to pay for college.—By Maggie Severns
| Wed Jun. 5, 2013 5:27 AM EDT
Read more about President Obama's, Elizabeth Warren's, and the Republicans' plans to fix student debt.Update (6/29/2013): Congress didn't even come close to agreeing on new student loan rates, so interest rates doubled July 1 for students taking out one common federal loan. After the July 4 recess and before most students take out new loans for college in August, Congress will have a window to fix the loan rate. Senate Democrats are now pushing for a temporary fix, a one-year extension of the low 3.4 percent interest rate that would give Congress time to hammer out a long-term solution. According to the Hill, they have scheduled a vote on the proposal for July 10, though others (including House Republicans and even some fellow Democrats in the Senate) may not be on board.
Got student loans? You are far from alone: More than 38 million Americans have outstanding student loan debt totaling nearly $1 trillion, and those numbers are rising fast. This month, Congress will consider proposals to keep the interest rates on direct federal student loans down. (If it doesn't act by July 1, the rate for one kind of loan will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.) Regardless of what lawmakers do, many students and graduates will still have to take on large amounts of debt to pay for college.
Below are nine charts that help illustrate that the student loan crisis isn't just about interest rates but about how the cost of college has spiraled beyond the reach of many families and is leaving millions of students and grads with debts that are keeping them from realizing their financial goals.
The amount of total student loan debt has soared in the past decade, shooting up from $240 billion at the start of 2003 to nearly $1 trillion today.
That's the big picture. But why has the total amount of outstanding debt gone up so sharply? One big reason is that higher education, especially at four-year colleges, costs a lot more than it used to.
Inflation isn't solely to blame. Compared to the overall price of consumer goods, college prices have still risen sharply since 1980.
The rising price of college has contributed to overall student loan debt, but so has the fact that more students are attending college. As more students attend college, they're taking out more loans--and bigger loans, too.
Mortgage debt is still by far the biggest category of debt in the United States, totaling over $7 trillion. But as more people have invested in college, the total amount of outstanding student loan debt exceeds auto and credit card debt.
This borrowing is hitting some Americans harder than others. Low-income parents report they are less likely to know how they will pay for their children's college education.
And less wealthy households are shouldering a much larger share of the debt burden. In 2010, almost 60 percent of the nation's student loan debt was held by households with less than $8,500 in net worth.
Student loans are now more likely to be delinquent than other major types of debt. Currently, 11 percent of student loan balances have gone unpaid for more than 90 days. That's a low-ball estimate: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York guesses that, if you exclude borrowers that have deferred their loan payments, the share of delinquent borrowers would be more than 20 percent.
Even when students pay back their loans on a standard, 10-year repayment plan, the interest does add up. The current proposals for changing interest rates on some federal loans could have a big impact on borrowers. Keep in mind that the loans that Congress is discussing right now have some of the lower rates of the student loans out there: Federal loans for parents and grad students have higher interest rates than the rates below.
The silver lining to this story is that more Americans are pursuing higher education, even if they are taking out loans to do so. Some economists are troubled by the fact that fewer people under 30 are buying homes and other goods as more are paying for college, but higher education is, on the whole, a solid place to put your money. In 2010, the median earnings for young adults with bachelors degrees were 50 percent higher than those of their counterparts with high school diplomas. But for many members of Generation Debt, the benefits of having a diploma may seem a long way off.
Here you see a deregulated Federal student loan agency creating all kinds of loan programs for anyone and then creating as many ways to get rid of student loan debt all decided by Wall Street banks and global corporations-----a wealthy family able to pay cash for a child's higher education tuition SHOULD NOT BE GETTING FEDERALLY INSURED STUDENT LOANS. You will not see any research and academic studies proving which students are getting the 5 year vs the 10 year----but government watchdogs have already reported the facts I shared. Again, this is what deregulating all that is Federal government does----it breaks down equal opportunity and access to how government revenue is used and it opens the door to corporate fraud and discrimination.
We see the wealthiest families with wealth that is hidden-----the criteria for income masks how much a wealthy family actually has.
The Insider: College Admissions Advice from the Experts
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5 Reasons Wealthy Students Should Apply for Financial Aid | College CoachPosted by Shannon Vasconcelos on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 @ 02:00 PM
With students right in the thick of college application season, and the financial aid process right around the corner (next year’s FAFSA becomes available on January 1st), College Coach’s finance experts are flooded this time of year with some variation of the question, “Do I need to complete a FASFA if I’m not going to qualify for financial aid?” The short answer to that question is “no.” The FAFSA is a financial aid application, and no student is required to apply for financial aid. Believe me, colleges will be more than happy to admit your child without providing you any financial assistance. Still, there are many reasons why you may want to complete an aid application even if you don’t expect to qualify for need-based assistance:
- In my experience, families are not always the best judges of their own “neediness,” as objectively defined by colleges. I’ve spoken with parents with family incomes of $70,000 per year who were quite sure they wouldn’t qualify for aid (at many schools, they would qualify for huge amounts of assistance) and parents making $700,000 who expected extensive grant funding (unless they have 6 kids in college simultaneously, it’s not going to happen). There are families with moderate incomes living well within their means who feel very comfortable financially and higher income families who struggle to keep up with high expenses and feel “poor.” Aid eligibility is based upon objective financial criteria, however, not a family’s own determination, so regardless of how you feel about your family’s financial circumstances, applying for aid is the only way to know for sure if you’re eligible.
- You may also wish to have an aid application on file in case your family experiences a change in financial circumstances, such as a job loss. Some colleges will not consider applications for assistance submitted after their published deadlines, even if a family’s ability to pay for college changes significantly. Having a FAFSA on file leaves open the possibility of requesting reconsideration for funding due to a change in circumstances.
- The government requires students to complete a FAFSA if they wish to take advantage of any federal student loans. There are favorable non-need-based loans that students from even the wealthiest families will qualify for, so if you want your child to take on some of the responsibility for financing his or her own education, or if you want to consider federal borrowing options yourself, you will need to complete a FAFSA to access government college loans.
- Most colleges have two separate “pots” of money to provide to students: need-based aid and non-need-based aid (like academic and other types of recruitment scholarships). While a need-based aid application is generally not required to be considered for non-need-based scholarships , this rule of thumb does not apply at every college. Some colleges require a FAFSA (often to verify US citizenship) in order to be considered for certain non-need-based scholarships, and some colleges specifically offer certain recruitment scholarships to students who have applied for need-based aid but did not qualify (Boston University’s Deans’ Scholarship is one example). Check a college’s website or call their Admissions Office to find out if an aid application is required to apply for any non-need-based scholarships at that school to ensure that your child does not inadvertently leave money on the table.
- Finally, many families are hesitant to complete a FAFSA because they fear their aid application will hurt their child’s chance of admission at the college of his or her choice. Though this is a legitimate concern at some colleges, I’ve found this fear is often overblown. First of all, colleges can either practice a need-blind admissions policy, guaranteeing that your admission will not be affected by your family’s finances, or be need-aware, where there is at least a possibility that your family’s finances will enter the admissions equation (see our previous post, Need-Blind Admissions is Exactly What It Says It Is, to learn more). And even at need-aware schools, the vast majority of students tend to be admitted or denied without regard to their financial situation. It is usually only borderline students for whom the need for financial aid may negatively affect the chance of admission. Finally, simply applying for financial aid is often not enough to hurt admissions chances. At many schools, not only do you have to apply for aid for your admittance to be in any way endangered, but you actually have to qualify for need-based assistance. Therefore, students who apply for aid but do not qualify are in very little danger of losing a spot in the class at a given school simply because of an aid application.
Latino immigrants know what Clinton neo-liberalism is about---they escaped from it in Central and South America to come to the US. So, when a Clinton ne-liberal Congress and Obama pose progressive by allowing immigrants to access Federal funding for higher education ALL WHILE HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING IS TIED TO WALL STREET AND SYSTEMIC FRAUD and now 10 year indenture----SURE, CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS LOVE ANYTHING THAT EXPLOITS AND ABUSES IMMIGRANTS FOR MAXIMIZING PROFIT.
So, state governors like O'Malley squeezed this fake progressive issue for all it was worth-----had his state Latino organization Casa de Maryland and NAACP come out for immigrants all while social Democrats knew it was yet another way to use the working class and poor in schemes to milk Federal agencies and tie loads of debt to citizens. THIS IS WHY IMMIGRANTS CANNOT GET GRANTS---ONLY LOANS. Of course many US citizens may object to even having immigrants get this but they do pay taxes just as citizens do.
Just as US citizens who are working class and poor were soaked with fraudulent for-profit higher education----now immigrants get to be that corporate fraud tool.
Below you see a definite Republican review of this process but it shows how immigrants are feeling about this fake DREAM ACT for immigrants.
Illegal Immigrants Complain They Get Student Loans Instead of Grants
College Fix Staff •January 3, 2014
Some students in the country illegally have complained that the millions of dollars the University of California system recently pledged to help them earn a college degree will come by way of student loans instead of grants.
As UC officials discuss specifics on how the $5 million UC President Janet Napolitano recently budgeted to support undocumented students will be allocated – much of which will go to student loan programs, it’s been decided – some student activists have bemoaned that it’s not fair to strap stressed out, disadvantaged students in the country illegally with college debt.
“We think that the 5 million dollars will have an impact if the money goes directly into the pockets of undocumented students,” By Any Means Necessary campus activist group leader David Douglass told The Daily Californian in an email.
The Californian goes on to report:
Sophomore Ivan Villasenor Madriz, an undocumented student, spoke with representatives from the UC Office of the President and other undocumented student representatives across the UC campuses in a conference call the evening of Dec. 18.
Madriz said the students raised concerns about the use of the funds for loans rather than other types of aid such as grants and work-study. He said loans should not be considered “aid” because they are only increasing student debt and putting more pressure on students.
“The loans that are given out are making one hole to fill another,” he said. “It defeats the purpose of so-called ‘financial aid.’ ”
Here is the other target of global corporations and their pols-----VETERAN's GI BILL. It is no accident that Maryland created UMUC----an online higher education program aimed at the military overseas several decades ago when this GI bill benefit was first installed. Most people becoming involved in these online college programs do not like them and find they are not quality no matter how much advertisement is put out there. Data showed for decades these programs took what was an opportunity for our military forces to attend a strong 4 year university and pushed them into a poor quality online degree program.
As we see the deregulation and privatization during Clinton/Bush set the stage for tons of these same online for-profit higher education corporations to come and commit $1 trillion in corporate fraud and killing Maryland's UMUC program as it moved military from UMUC to these for-profit colleges.
What Obama and Clinton neo-liberals did----since for-profit online corporate higher education offered a poorer quality education and would not allow transfer to strong 4 year universities with quality programs-----they subprimed the quality 4 year public university degrees ---that was what Obama and Clinton neo-liberals did these several years----bring quality down to meet that of online for-profit vocational programs----vocationalizing our college degrees complete with taking out all the requirements that gave balance to a higher education degree----
SO VETS ARE ONE OF THE HIGHEST IN POPULATION TIED TO THE LOW-INCOME FOR-PROFIT HIGHER EDUCATION FRAUDS BY CORPORATIONS NEVER HAVING TO PAY BACK THAT $1 TRILLION IN FRAUD. OBAMA PRETENDED HE WAS GOING TO DO THAT AND THEN DIDN'T.
The military not only were fleeced of their GI bill education benefits that could have given them access to quality 4 year universities-----they had fees added to what should have been a free higher education by Wall Street and are now the ones being hit by Wall Street collection corporations
Before Clinton and neo-liberals joined Republicans in dismantling and using these Federal programs for fraud----most GIs would come back home from serving and accessed any college program they wanted for free....
THAT WAS SOCIAL DEMOCRACY VS WALL STREET NEO-LIBERALISM
→ Education, Military, Top Stories
How Pricey For-Profit Colleges Target Vets' GI Bill Money
The GI Bill has long been veterans' ticket to the middle class. But it has also become a cash cow for corporate colleges.—By Adam Weinstein
| September/October 2011 Issue
Veterans Affairs briefs troops about the full details of the new GI Bill. US Army Public Affairs/FlickrLast winter, the Department of Veterans Affairs tasked its newly hired blogger, a cantankerous Iraq vet named Alex Horton, with investigating the website GIBill.com, one of many official-looking links that come up when you Google terms like "GI Bill schools." With names like ArmedForcesEDU.com and UseYourGIBill.us, these sites purport to inform military veterans how to best use their education benefits. In reality, Horton found, they're run by marketing firms hired by for-profit colleges to extol the virtues of high-priced online or evening courses. He concluded that GIBill.com "serves little purpose other than to funnel student veterans and convince them their options for education are limited to their advertisers."
The 65-year-old GI Bill is widely credited with transforming post-World War II America by subsidizing vets' college education and fueling the expansion of the middle class. Yet recently, the program has also become a cash cow for for-profit schools like Capella, DeVry, ITT Tech, Kaplan, and the University of Phoenix, eager to capitalize on vets coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.
As a beefier post-9/11 GI Bill has kicked in, a surge of service members has left the ranks armed with benefits that will cover the full cost of attending public college. In 2009, the for-profits took in almost as much military money as public colleges, even though they enrolled about one-third the number of vets. Spending on military education benefits has shot up to $10 billion; for-profit schools' share of that money has gone up 600 percent, as revealed in a recent PBS Frontline exposé. For example, at Kaplan—owned by the Washington Post Co.—military revenues grew to an estimated $48.9 million last year, up from $2.6 million in 2006.
The result has been a bonanza for schools' executives and shareholders. "We didn't foresee that the for-profit sector, eager to please Wall Street investors, would go after this new funding aggressively, often in ways that are not in the best interests of veterans and service members," stated Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) after leading an investigation into 30 major for-profits earlier this year. Or as one University of Phoenix alum put it on RipoffReport.com, the school "treats military students like cash piñatas."
Online ads are just the opening salvo in the for-profit schools' recruitment campaign. The 400,000-student University of Phoenix runs a "military division" that employs 600 vets, operates satellite campuses on military bases worldwide, and publishes an online military newsletter called the Patriot. The American Forces Network has made an exception to its no-commercials policy to air the school's ads. "We feel putting this information on the air is beneficial to the community," a program director at the network told Stars and Stripes. For-profit schools' "military enrollment advisers" are also routinely given access to soldiers on bases. An investigation by Bloomberg found that a recruiter visited Camp Lejeune's Wounded Warrior ward, hoping to enroll injured Marines.
"I felt that I have been misled, deceived, or even outright lied to," one vet testifiedFor-profit colleges bill themselves as flexible job-training programs, but their costs can outweigh the benefits. At 8 of the 10 for-profits that take in the most GI Bill cash, more than half of students drop out within a year of matriculation. Many students find that prospective employers and graduate schools won't take their coursework seriously since most for-profits lack accreditation from legitimate academic bodies. "I researched the accreditation and it seemed legit. I had no idea...none of my schooling would transfer," an Army vet and University of Phoenix alum from St. Petersburg, Florida, wrote on the VA's GI Bill Facebook page. "A lot of places see the guaranteed GI Bill as cash in hand and it's a shame they take advantage of us."
Some for-profits have cleaned out students' military benefits while also signing them up for thousands of dollars in loans without their knowledge. A vet who enrolled at the largely online Ashford University after being told the GI Bill would cover his tuition ended up owing the school $11,000. "I felt that I have been misled, deceived, or even outright lied to," he told Senate investigators.
At some schools, more than 60 percent of military students ultimately default on their loans. A 2010 VA audit found serious bookkeeping errors at nearly every school it reviewed: An Arizona school didn't give a veteran promised tuition discounts and pocketed $20,000; a New Jersey school collected nearly $5,000 in tuition from a student after he'd been recalled to active duty.
How did this much-loved program become corporate welfare? Congress expanded GI Bill benefits for service members and their spouses just as investors were looking for fast-growing stocks—like educational for-profits—to replace the once-hot real estate market. Tuition assistance is now paid directly to institutions, not soldiers, making it easier for schools to convince vets to sign over their benefits. GI Bill dollars have also enabled for-profits to boost how much federal financial aid they receive. In order to collect federal Title IV aid—Pell grants, Stafford loans, and Plus loans—the schools must obey the "90/10 rule": They can't derive more than 90 percent of their total income from Title IV programs. GI Bill funds don't count toward that total. So every dollar of military aid enables for-profit schools to collect nine dollars from the Department of Education.
The VA oversees the disbursement of GI Bill money, but its bureaucracy has been swamped by the glut of soldiers-turned-students. It relies heavily on reporting from state agencies, which in turn frequently rely on information cherry-picked by the schools themselves—an approach, the Government Accountability Office notes, that "undermines the independence of the review." Harkin and a cohort of Democratic senators have proposed stricter guidelines for the for-profits, which spent more than $7 million on lobbying last year. The plan has found few additional supporters in Congress.
In the meantime, Horton and his colleagues on the VA's outreach team continue their war on misinformation. "We're not in the business of telling veterans where they can and can't go to school," says his boss and fellow Iraq vet Brandon Friedman. "But we can give vets enough knowledge to make a decision."
Horton encourages service members to do their homework so they get the best value for their benefits. "Take a look at the CEOs and directors of those for-profit schools, Kaplan, DeVry, Ashford. Where'd they go to school? Harvard, Stanford, Oxford," he says. "Zero are for-profit graduates."