In recent months there has been a lot of media coverage about for-profit schools targeting military students for their GI Bill benefits.
As many of you already know your GI Bill benefits are highly valuable and should be used carefully. NPR recently reported that a new GI Bill Benefit Watchdog bill was introduced by Sen. Mark Begich (D – Alaska), Sen. Daniel Akaka (D – Hawaii), Sen. Patty Murray (D – Washington). The bill’s aim is to help veterans who may have been taken advantage of by various schools.
We at MilitaryOnlineEducation.org want to make sure any veterans or members of the military know their rights in regards to this bill and their rights to privacy with the schools. We came up with a list of questions/tips to help you out.
How should I research and get more info on schools?
1) The easiest way to get in touch with a school is to request info via form. They usually call you within 24 hours to talk about your educational choices. However, with this we want you to know that you are opt-in to being contacted by the school. If you ever want to be removed from the school’s mailing list, simply ask them to put you on their do not call list or unsubscribe list. They should honor this within 7 business days. If they do not you have the right to report them for spamming.
2) If you don’t want to disclose your information, simply call the school via their 800 number. They may ask you for your info, but you are not obligated to provide it unless you want to be called back or mailed additional info. Simply state, “I am not ready to give you my information, yet, I would like to ask you some questions first.”
Remember you are the customer and you are in control. Do not feel pressured into giving any information you don’t want to give.
However, if you are serious about going to school you will need to disclose your contact information. Just be reasonable about this.
3) Every school maintains a website with tuition information, course info etc. You should be able to get most of your information online without ever talking to a human or sending in your info. All official school sites end with a .EDU.
4) If you don’t want a lot of calls or emails be selective about which schools you want to request info from. We suggest talking to one or two schools first. Any more than that can get a bit cumbersome.
5) Take your time researching online. Filling out a form before finding out if the school offers what you want is a bad move. Check out our site for more info on each school and see if you can connect with other students on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter first.
6) Be ready with a list of questions to ask the school. Don’t fall into a sales pitch. You are in control, ask the questions that matter. For a list of the top 50 questions to ask, click here. This is a free list we provide to our visitors. Make sure to share it with your friends and family to help them also.
What are the main points of the GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act of 2012?
- Information Availability: The GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act calls for disclosure of, among other data, statistics related to student loan debt, transferability of credits earned, veteran enrollment, program preparation for licensing and certification, and job placement rates.
- Information Dissemination: The GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act requires VA to provide educational beneficiaries with easy-to-understand information about schools that are approved for GI Bill benefit use.
- Staffing and Training: The GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act requires educational institutions to have at least one employee who is knowledgeable about benefits available to servicemembers and veterans. This legislation further requires that academic advising, tutoring, career and placement counseling services, and referrals to Vet Centers are available and that institutions offer training to faculty members on matters that are relevant to servicemembers and veterans.
- Curbing Misleading Marketing and Aggressive Recruiting: The GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act requires VA and the Department of Defense to develop a joint policy on aggressive recruiting and misleading marketing aimed at servicemembers, veterans, and other beneficiaries.
- Educational Counseling: The GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act makes educational counseling available to more beneficiaries.
The above bullet points are referenced from this site.
If you wish to read the full text of the proposed bill please click here.