What is Co-Managed Care for Veterans?

Military and Veterans Educational Reform Act of 2012

The Military and Veterans Educational Reform Act of 2012 (S. 2179) was introduced in March by Senator Jim Webb of Virginia and 15 other cosponsors from both sides of the aisle. Designed to tighten up Post 9/11 G.I. Bill loopholes, this bill is meant to improve assistance to Veterans as well as to prevent abuse by educational institutions. It contains several sections, including but not limited to:

  • requiring schools with more than 20 veteran students provide specific veteran support services, including but not limited to tutoring and job placement,
  • having the VA or the DoD provide potential veteran students with entrance counseling so that students are aware of their educational options and funding eligibility,
  • creating one streamlined process between the VA and the DoD to receive, process, and investigate complaints regarding educational institutions levied by veteran students, and
  • requiring state approving agencies (SAA) to perform annual audits of schools that have G.I. Bill funded -veteran students.

The most important facet of this bill is the new requirement that every school that receives G.I. Bill funding be Title Four eligible. Title Four of the Higher Education Act of 1965 mandates schools:

  • be accredited by a Department of Education accrediting agency,
  • have an undergraduate withdrawal rate of less than 33%, and
  • be reviewed by the Department of Education if the school has a high dropout or default rate.

The target of this section of the bill is for-profit educational institutions. Eight of the top ten schools receiving VA funding are for-profit, which costs more than twice a public institution. That would be fine, if these schools had the same performance outcome as other schools. One in four students enrolled in a for-profit university drops out by the third year, and while for-profit students who take out loans are only 10% of the student loan population, they make up 50% of the default rate.

What this bill does not do, however, is amend the 90-10 article of the Higher Education Act, which mandates that for-profit schools receiving certain federal funding must prove that 10% of their income comes directly from students and parents, not the federal government. The list of federal funding does not include G.I. Bill money, which can be applied 100%. By allowing full funding from veterans on the G.I. Bill, Hollister K. Petraeus, assistant director for service member affairs with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, states that it creates a situation that allows for-profit colleges see veterans “as nothing more than dollar signs.” With high profit rates and low graduation rates, for-profit schools are often seen as predatory in the least, fraudulent at the worst.

The bill currently sits in the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs where a hearing was held on June 13th, 2012. This is only the first of many stops the bill needs to make to become law. Advocate for yourself and fellow veterans and make your voice heard. Contact your Representative and Senator and let them know where you stand on the issue.

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