Upholding our commitment to veterans
Today is Veterans Day, a time for reflection and a time to honor those who have served our country and defended it with their lives. I served for 23 years in the U.S. Navy – five years in a hot war in Southeast Asia, and 18 years in a cold war on reserve duty. As a veteran, I know firsthand the sacrifices that members of our military and their families make to defend our nation. We owe our veterans more than just a debt of gratitude for their service. We owe them our sincere commitment to providing them with access to high quality health care, ensure they have a place to call home, and offer them skills they need to have a successful life as a civilian.
Our veterans also deserve the opportunity to obtain the best education possible – one that will equip them with the skills they need to find a good job, repay their college loans, and go on to live productive lives. When I returned from Southeast Asia, the GI Bill made it possible for me to earn my MBA from the University of Delaware. Today, our veterans returning home from across the world deserve the same – if not better – opportunities that I received all those years ago.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill affords veterans the valuable opportunity to attain a high-quality education here at home after service. It’s a generous benefit that can fully cover the tuition, fees, books, and housing at many of our nation’s colleges and universities, like the University of Delaware and Delaware State University. But over the past six years, 40 percent of Post-9/11 GI Bill tuition benefits have gone to for-profit colleges, even as questions continue to be raised about for-profit institutions’ graduation, default, and job placement rates.
The 90-10 Rule is a federal law passed by Congress in the 1990s that requires for-profit schools to derive at least 10 percent of their revenues from sources other than the federal government. However, a loophole exists that allows for-profit schools to count military and veteran education assistance as non-federal revenue. As a result, some for-profit institutions have aggressively—and sometimes deceptively—recruited veterans and their G.I. Bill benefits to receive 100 percent of their revenues from taxpayers.
While not every for-profit school is a bad actor, I believe that one veteran mistreated at a for-profit school is one veteran too many. That’s why I’ve introduced the Military and Veterans Education Protection Act, which would close the 90/10 loophole and encourage for-profit schools to better serve veterans and taxpayers. This is the third consecutive Congress that I’ve introduced this legislation, and I plan to keep going until every veteran has the confidence that they’re investing their time and education benefits wisely.
Supporting our veterans and strengthening veterans’ benefits have been among my top priorities for 30 years. This Veterans Day, I’m calling on Congress to close the 90/10 loophole and uphold our commitment to protect veterans here at home just as they do for us throughout the world.