Saturday, November 17, 2018

DOD, VA Get Low Grades for Helping Vets Make College Choices

dahneshaulis@gmail.com

The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are tasked with helping servicemembers and their families make successful transitions to civilian life.

The Department of Defense offers college classes on base through their education centers. They also provide free education opportunities through DOD Tuition Assistance (TA). DOD offers a tool called TA Decide to help servicemembers choose schools and a short series of classes for outgoing servicemembers, called the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The US Army also has Army University which puts all military education in one place.

VA claims to offer individual counseling for transitioning servicemembers and veterans seeking information about post-military careers and education. This includes a career tool called Career Scope and an online tool for selecting schools, called the GI Bill Comparison Tool.

How well are these education and career programs working? It would certainly appear from the available data that DOD and VA are failing many servicemembers, veterans, and their families.

I have reached out to DOD for information about the effectiveness of DOD TA, TA Decide, US Army University, and other programs but have not gotten any feedback. I have also tried to connect with VA but they also have not responded.

According to Student Veterans of America and their NVEST report, 46 percent of all people using the GI Bill do not finish school, and 25 percent use their hard earned GI Bill on for-profit colleges. In 2017, CBS News also reported that 40 percent of all GI Bill money goes to for-profit colleges. To make matters worse, some of the worst actors in the subprime college sector (like University of Phoenix, Ashford University, Colorado Tech, and Purdue University Global-Kaplan) get a large amount of TA and GI Bill money.

[Image below from GI Bill Comparison Tool shows the school with the most GI Bill students. Downloaded 11-8-2018. ]




In 2011, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that DOD had done some work on ensuring greater accountability from online schools, but that more needed to be done. Since 2017, DOD has made two review of schools receiving TA funds, but the information has not been released to the public. US Army University also continues to partner with subprime colleges such as University of Phoenix, DeVry, and Ashford University.


Related links:

8 tips to help vets pick the right college (Military Times)

Veteran Mentor Network on LinkedIn

Warrior Scholar Project

Service to School

Veterans Upward Bound

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