Military Advantage

Protecting Education Benefits

Last week the Assistant Director for Servicemember Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Holly Petraeus, spoke to education services officers and college administrators at the DoD Worldwide Education Symposium in Las Vegas. Mrs. Petraeus talked about the current efforts to protect servicemembers and veterans from the predatory marketing practices and poor quality of education at some for-profit schools.

Mrs. Petraus also shared the following tips for ensuring servicemembers make wise choices with their GI Bill and Military Tuition Assistance benefits.

Questions you should ask schools:

  • Ask how many students take out additional debt beyond using their military benefits. Ask what their student-loan default rates are. Ask how many students take out private student loans.
  • Ask them about their accreditation and whether they are sure it is accepted for the jobs they tout.
  • Ask if their credits transfer to other schools.
  • Ask them the percentage of their students who find employment in the field they studied for.
  • Ask how many students graduate from the program they started.
  • Ask how many actually sit for the licensing exam in the vocational program they start. Ask them how many pass.
  • Ask how many career counselors they have to serve their students.
Questions for students before enrolling:
  • Have you looked at other schools to compare costs.
  • Will your military benefits will cover the cost. If not, how do you plan to cover the rest? What has the school told you about financial aid?
  • Do you know anything about the school, besides the fact that it has a lot of military students and they heard that it was “military friendly.”
  • Have you thought beyond promotion points, to whether their credits will transfer to another college or any civilian employer will recognize that degree.
  • Do you feel like you’ve really done your homework on what may be one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make.
Mrs. Petraeus closed by reminding her audience to “be outspoken if you feel like something is wrong.” Adding, “file a complaint with us at ConsumerFinance.gov and/or reach out to your state Attorney General. Push complaints up your chain of command.”

Read the full article in the Military.com Education Center.

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