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Mon Apr 15, 2019, 10:48 AM

Veterans could be first to pay as DeVos rolls back for-profit college oversight

Source: NBC News

Veterans could be first to pay as DeVos rolls back for-profit college oversight

Veterans are often sought out by schools with low graduation and job-placement rates because of their access to federal aid.

April 14, 2019, 6:30 PM EDT
By Heidi Przybyla and Laura Strickler

WASHINGTON — Eric Dean made a career of calling military veterans to urge them to enroll at Ashford University, a for-profit school based in San Diego that offers online degrees. Dean, who was instructed in sales techniques at Ashford, said he tried to befriend hundreds of current and former sailors and soldiers — many from the nation’s poorest communities — to convince them to attend.

“I’ve seen the inside,” Dean told NBC News in an interview, saying he had been “pressured into essentially selling my soul to throw fellow veterans under the bus” by misleading them about the educational outcomes about the school's graduation and job-placement rates.

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Under President Barack Obama, the Department of Education cracked down on for-profits like Ashford. With its high sticker price, questionable job placement success and 16 percent graduation rate — considerably lower than the national average of about 60 percent. Ashford was described in a Chronicle of Higher Education investigation as “a poster child for the ills of the for-profit college sector,” and the school was sued by the state of California, which said it was misleading students about tuition cost and burying them in loan debt.

While the Obama Administration didn’t solve all the problems associated with the for-profit college industry, it successfully created new rules intended to help rein in the worst-performing schools and to protect taxpayer dollars. Veterans and low-income Americans can qualify for large sums of federal aid, making them top recruitment priorities for for-profits.

Now, the Trump Administration is trying to overturn those rules — and veterans and low-income Americans are the most at risk. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has begun a months long process to unwind the Obama-era rules, easing oversight of for-profits’ use of tax dollars and protections for defrauded students.

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Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/veterans-could-be-first-pay-devos-rolls-back-profit-college-n985891

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