The G.I. Bill is supposed to allow veterans and military members to take advantage of good educational opportunities.
But, and there is a big but. Many for-profit-colleges with attractive advertising campaigns lure veterans into programs that often cost too much and offer little of real value.
Now government agencies teamed up with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to help. They want veterans, service members and their families who use the GI Bill to complain about education ripoffs.
You can file complaints with the VA and DOD directly about the cost of attendance, marketing, graduation rates, program quality, employment prospects, and course credit. The Department of Education will take email complaints on these topics.
The complaints won’t just sit there. They’ll get forwarded to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network database. 2,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide use the data base to pursue cases and your complaints will help the government identify and go after the bad-actors and companies involved in fraudulent and deceptive practices.
Jessica Rich, director, FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection says,“Veterans should get truthful information when they choose how and where to use their military education benefits. Unfortunately, that may not always be the case.”
TIPS FOR CHOOSING A COLLEGE
If there’s a high pressure sales pitch be very careful. Make sure that if you do sign up, you can cancel, without any penalty, within a few days.
10 QUESTIONS YOU WANT TO ASK
1. Will the program use all my G.I. benefits?
2. How do I pay for what the G.I. Bill doesn’t cover?
3. Do you expect me to get a loan to pay for what my benefits don’t cover?
4. Are books and other things included, or do I pay extra?
5. Do I pay for individual courses, or do I pay a blanket sum?
6. Are there extra fees for adding or dropping courses?
7. What’s the percentage of recent grads from your school who took a loan and are delinquent repaying the loan.
8. Can I transfer credit from this school to another school?
9. Is this school accredited?
10. Is it accredited in a way that allows me to transfer to a state or city school?
The FTC also compiled a list of suggestions to help you figure out how to choose a college.