Scam Schools: The Cyclical Abuse of Veterans by For-Profit Institutions


Robert Muth

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The original GI bill provided generous educational benefits to World War II veterans to support a successful transition to civilian life. It is credited with helping develop and expand America’s middle class, increase homeownership, and improve higher education attainment. However, its limited oversight of taxpayer funds led to predatory practices by for-profit schools. Subsequent versions of the GI Bill were designed specifically to inhibit for-profit schools from enrolling student veterans. However, in crafting the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Congress sought to replicate the generous benefits afforded to veterans after World War II while also inadvertently enabling the same abuses by for-profit schools. This article describes the intersecting history of the GI Bill and the for-profit education sector, provides an analysis of the relevant sections of The Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and outlines needed additional reforms to disincentivize and hold accountable for-profit schools while ensuring veterans have access to a quality education.