On Monday, the VA began warning GI Bill participants of potential problems at DeVry University.
The warning, which appears on the VA's GI Bill Comparison Tool website. appears as a caution flag stating that the VA is "cautioning GI Bill users about DeVry" as a result of the Federal Trade Commission lawsuit for deceptive advertising and a Notice of Intent Issued by the Department of Education.
While the warning carries no penalty or does not stop GI Bill participants from attending DeVry, many saw the action as a strong reprimand from the VA as a result of the Federal Trade Commission's January 2016 lawsuit against DeVry and continuing evidence of the Federal Government's scrutiny of for-profit schools.
The VA sent DeVry a letter in which Curtis Coy, the VA Deputy Undersecretary of Economic Opportunity said: "Effective the date of this letter, VA is suspending DeVry University's status as a [Principles of Excellence] institution at least until the conclusion of the FTC lawsuit,"
The letter went on to say "The FTC findings, [Education Department] conclusions, and GI Feedback System complaints indicate that DeVry University has not acted in accordance with ... Principles of Excellence guidelines".
The Principles of Excellence Program was created by a Presidential Executive Order in 2012 to give GI Bill users information, support, and protection while using GI Bill benefits. It also gives GI Bill users the opportunity to provide feedback on negative experiences with schools. While voluntary, the program was put into place to provide a basic feedback and rating system that GI Bill recipients could use when researching potential schools.
In its complaint against DeVry, the FTC alleged DeVry's claim that 90% of its graduates who were actively seeking employment landed jobs in their field within six months of graduation was deceptive. The complaint also charged another key claim made by DeVry, that its graduates had 15% higher incomes one year after graduation on average than the graduates of all other colleges or universities, was also deceptive. The Department of Education Limitation was also related to DeVry's employment claim.
The VA also announced it will be conducting increased reviews of all DeVry campuses to ensure compliance with existing Federal regulations.
In a written statement, DeVry challenged what it called "VA's premature action."
"DeVry Group is extremely disappointed by the VA's action taken today," said the statement. "The FTC's allegations that the VA cites are just that - allegations -; and we believe are without merit." While DeVry recently filed a motion to dismiss the FTC's lawsuit, they added: "The VA should withhold judgment on these matters while we seek resolution."