It seems like online colleges, such as Kaplan University and other for-profit institutions, are targeting military veterans who have the benefits package to help them pursue college education. With federal funds allotted for veteran education, enrolling even in an expensive public university is a big possibility for the beneficiaries of the GI Bill. The funding is raised from $4.2 billion to $9.6, which is more generous than the previous years. With this, veterans seem to be the likely target of many online college’s advertising and recruitment for admissions.
Federal financial aid rules
Kaplan University is one of the many colleges that seem to benefit from the generous GI Bill. In fact, in 2009, the university was ranked as number 3 in the number of veterans enrolled in their programs using their education benefits. The other for-profit institutions that ranked highly in this list are Apollo Group’s (APOL) University of Phoenix and American Public Education’s (APEI) American Public University System.
Executive director of Veterans of Modern Warfare, Donald D. Overton Jr., however, claims that some schools are not operating based on the student’s best interest but are focused on the monetary gains they can have from GI benefits. It is said that for-profit colleges have found a workaround on the 1992 law, which caps the revenue propertion coming from federal aid at 90%, since the GI Bill is recognized as a non-government revenue. Chief executive of PAA Research, Bradley Safalow, also claims that Kaplan University has possibly exceeded the 90% revenue cap if the tuition assistance from GI Bill and that of US Defense Department will be considered. On their defense, Melissa Mack, Kaplan spokeswoman, said that the popularity of Kaplan to veterans can be attributed to their “military-friendly practices.”
Arne Duncan, U.S. Education Secretary, is opting for a tigther policy to be implemented on for-profit colleges, so the spirit of the law won’t be violated, which is based on the premise that high quality education must be considered an investment that students would be willing to use their own money for it.
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