US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Harkin Welcomes Administration Effort to Protect Student Veterans and Servicemembers

New Online Complaint System Provides The Ability to Report Abuses

Friday, January 31, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today welcomed the announcement that the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Education and Justice, along with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission, will launch a new online complaint system that will give servicemembers, veterans and their families the ability to provide feedback on their experiences at postsecondary institutions receiving their federal military and veterans’ educational benefits. 

“We owe it to the brave servicemembers and their families who have given so much to defend this country to ensure that every door of opportunity is open to them – especially higher education. The Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Department of Defense’s military Tuition Assistance program help make that opportunity a reality,” Harkin said. “Today’s joint effort by federal agencies will help to collect the information necessary to identify and address unfair, deceptive, and misleading practices by educational institutions enrolling servicemembers, veterans and their families.  I hope the Department of Education can provide a similar tool to ensure all students are protected from unscrupulous practices.”

Harkin, as Chairman of the HELP Committee, released a report in 2012 on the findings of a two-year investigation of the for-profit higher education industry, which highlighted widespread problems throughout the sector, including the aggressive recruitment of veterans. Along with Sen. Durbin, he introduced legislation in the Senate that would help put an end to the for-profit higher education industry's marketing campaigns and aggressive recruiting of veterans, servicemembers, and their families. He also joined Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), Chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee, in calling on the Department of Defense to take steps to improve the “higher education” portion of the Transition Assistance Program to ensure students have the most up-to-date and accurate information.

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