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President Obama (White House photo)

Speaking to troops, veterans, and military families at Fort Stewart, President Obama laid out a plan to make it harder for for-profit colleges to prey on military families to get GI Bill money:

First, we’re going to require colleges that want to enroll members of our military or veterans or your families to provide clear information about their qualifications and available financial aid. You’ll be able to get a simple fact sheet called “Know Before You Owe.” Know before you owe. (Applause.) And it will lay out all the information that you need to make your own choices about how best to pay for college.  

Second, we’re going to require those schools to step up their support for our students. They need to provide a lot more counseling. If you’ve got to move because of a deployment or a reassignment, they’ve got to help you come up with a plan so that you can still get your degree. (Applause.)

Number three, we’re going to bring an end to the aggressive—and sometimes dishonest—recruiting that takes place. We’re going to up our oversight of improper recruitment practices. We’re going to strengthen the rules about who can come on post and talk to servicemembers. (Applause.) And we’re going to make it a lot easier for all of you to file complaints and for us to take action when somebody is not acting right.

For-profit colleges recruit veterans heavily because GI Bill funding can be counted toward the 10 percent of the colleges' revenue that must, by law, come from nonfederal sources. Without that law, some for-profit colleges might be completely funded by federal loans. Not that the total is low now, as the desirability of GI Bill students makes clear:
A recent Senate report on 15 large, publicly traded for-profit education companies said they got 86 percent of their revenue from taxpayers and have spent a combined $3.7 billion annually on marketing and recruiting.
Like so many other things, Obama had to accomplish this through an executive order, as a Congress heavily lobbied by for-profit colleges and universities (using federal loan money for their lobbying just as they use it for recruiting and marketing) won't rein in this abusive industry through legislation.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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