Sen. Tom Carper led a Dec. 20 letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs regarding the recent closure of Education Corporation of America’s national chain of for-profit colleges, including Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech Institute, Golf Academy of America and Virginia College.
Earlier in December, ECA announced the closure of more than 70 campuses across 21 states. More than 4,000 students attending ECA campuses in fiscal 2016 were veterans.
Joining Carper in sending the letter were Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut; Dick Durbin, D-Illinois; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts; and Patty Murray, D-Washington.
“School closures continue to disproportionately harm student veterans,” the senators wrote. “Unfortunately, the Forever GI Bill does not provide full restoration of GI Bill benefits going forward, including for ECA students. Additionally, the terms of the limited restoration may leave the ECA student veterans who were able to complete their current term without any restoration of their hard-earned GI Bill benefits whatsoever, despite the fact that those credits may carry little value. Unlike Corinthian and ITT Tech student veterans, ECA student veterans are facing the prospect that months or years of their benefits will have been effectively wasted.”
The senators also requested the VA work with the U.S. Department of Education and with State Approving Agencies to ensure that veterans affected by the closures would receive accurate information about their options, including transfer opportunities that would allow them to continue on their road to higher education without putting them at risk of further deception.
In November 2017, Carper reintroduced the Military and Veterans Education Protection Act, legislation that would close a loophole that allows for-profit schools to avoid having to secure at least 10 percent of their revenue from non-federal sources and protect student veterans misled or mistreated by aggressive recruitment practices by for-profit institutions. In October 2016, Carper released a report highlighting the harm to student veterans caused by for-profit school closures and recommending comprehensive relief be provided to veterans and their families to ensure their G.I. Bill benefits were not permanently lost.
The text of the letter can be found at bit.ly/2BJrBi3.