Aug 01 2013
Last week I heard the most heartbreaking story.
It was from Sgt. Chris Pantzke, a combat disabled veteran and a true American hero, about his experiences with an unscrupulous online college. He told me how, after returning from Iraq with a traumatic brain injury and PTSD, he decided to enroll in an online for-profit university to learn photography. From the moment he first called asking about how he could further his education, Sgt. Pantzke was courted and pursued aggressively by the school.
It seems, though, that the school was more interested in securing Sgt. Pantzke's G.I. Benefits than it was in ensuring that Sgt. Pantzke received a quality education and a good paying job after graduation.
Soon after enrolling, Sgt. Pantzke began struggling with his assignments. He asked for help, but his requests went unfulfilled. Two years and $90,000 in G.I. Bill benefits later, Sgt. Pantzke was forced to withdraw from school and begin teaching himself photography.
Sadly, this isn't the first time we've heard of a service member or veteran having an experience like Sgt. Pantzke's. That’s where the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which I chair, comes in. I have held multiple hearings on how some schools use some questionable tactics to boost their bottom line while failing our returning heroes. Last week, when we heard from Sgt. Pantzke, we took a hard look at how some for-profit colleges target our nation’s veterans for their G.I. Bill benefits but fail to provide a quality education. Not only does this take advantage of a taxpayer funded program, but more importantly it hurts the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our nation. I now intend to work with my Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle, along with the Obama Administration, to put an end to this disgusting practice and protect our service members and veterans.
I'll be sure to keep you updated on our fight, and I'd appreciate your support. Let me know what you think we can do to better protect our service members and veterans and ensure they get the best education possible.