Obama: Exploiting veterans 'disgraceful'

April 28, 2012 at 6:00 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 28 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday his administration is "stepping up" efforts against "bad actors" who exploit GI Bill benefits for personal gain.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president reminded listeners he signed an executive order Friday he said was intended to protect veterans and troops in uniform from "people out there who are less interested in helping our men and women in uniform get ahead and more interested in making a buck" by using pressure tactics to recruit military personnel into education and training programs.

"They bombard potential students with e-mails and pressure them into making a quick decision," he said. "Some of them steer recruits towards high-interest loans and mislead them about credit transfers and job placement programs. One of the worst examples was a college recruiter who visited a Marine barracks and enrolled Marines with brain injuries so severe that some of them couldn't recall what courses the recruiter had signed them up for.

"That's appalling," Obama said. "It's disgraceful. And even though the vast majority of schools do the right thing, we need to guard against the bad actors who don't."

Obama said the executive order he signed Friday will make it "a whole lot tougher for anyone who tries to prey on" veterans and service members.

"We're requiring schools to offer counseling to help students finish their degree even if they have to move or deploy," the president said. "And we're stepping up our efforts to fight dishonest recruiters by strengthening rules about who can come on base and making it easier to file complaints.

"When our men and women in uniform succeed, our country succeeds," he said. "They have our back -- now it's our turn to have theirs."

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