For-profit schools lure veterans

Dec. 9, 2010 at 3:24 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- For-profit schools scooped up more than one-third of tuition payments in the first year of an expanded program for U.S. veterans, officials say.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has released data showing that $640 million, 36 percent of total tuition paid under the post-Sept. 11 GI bill passed by Congress in 2008, went to the University of Phoenix and other for-profit institutions, The New York Times reports. Those are schools that were set up as moneymakers, many of them offering courses and degree programs online.

Some congressional representatives are pushing for stricter regulations, questioning the value of for-profit education. They are usually more expensive than public colleges, drop-out rates are high, and some students have reported problems when they try to transfer credits.

But the for-profit colleges are lobbying for a sweeter deal, the Times said. They want government housing allowances for students enrolled online and argue that they do a better job of meeting the needs of military students, especially those still on active duty.

ECPI College of Technology in Virginia has campuses in three states and allows students to take courses online. In the first year of the expanded education program, the school collected $16 million from the government for military tuition.

"We offer the flexibility and career focus they want," Bob Larned, executive director of military education at ECPI College of Technology, told the Times.

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