In front of thousands of service members, President Obama today signed an executive order aimed at protecting veterans from for-profit educational institutions trying to “swindle” and “hoodwink” them instead of providing the education they deserve.
Speaking to the Army’s Third Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga., the president, with his wife at his side, described how some for-profit institutions target veterans, bombarding them with emails and phone calls, promising advanced degrees and future job placement.
“You’re dealing with folks who aren’t interested in helping you. They’re not interested in helping you find the best program. They are interested in getting the money. They don’t care about you; they care about the cash,” he said. “That’s appalling. That’s disgraceful. It should never happen in America.”
The order, part of the president’s ongoing “We Can’t Wait” executive action campaign, is intended to crack down on these improper recruiting practices and to strengthen student protections for veterans.
“The executive order I’m about to sign will make life a whole lot more secure for you and your families and our veterans — and a whole lot tougher for those who try to prey on you,” the president said.
The order requires colleges that participate in the G.I. Bill program and the Department of Defense’s tuition program to provide veterans with the “Know Before You Owe” form, a document that outlines the financial aid available to student and how much debt they will likely take on.
The order also directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to trademark the term “G.I. Bill” to prevent educational institutions from fraudulently marketing their programs to beneficiaries of the program.
While members of Congress have introduced legislation to address these same issues, today’s action was intended to cast Obama as a take-charge president willing to circumvent gridlock on Capitol Hill.