Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) has never been a friend of Conservatives. He has received a rating of 0.00 from the American Conservative Union. His picture is below.
Harkin has also never been a “friend” of for-profit higher education facilities, which include trade schools and on-line colleges. At least when it applies to our veterans.
According to an analysis by Brigadier General John Castlellaw, for-profit education facilities many times offer veterans the best choice for any post-military education due to their busy work schedules and family demands:
For-profit schools are particularly valuable for veterans. Unlike traditional college freshmen, veterans often return home to busy schedules dominated by work and family. They require the flexible course schedules and online classes that are the hallmarks of for-profit schools. As shown by my example, the needs of veterans often cannot be met by traditional nonprofit schools.
On the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website one can obtain a list of “approved” higher education facilities and how much they will pay toward a veteran’s education.
In spite of being a former navy pilot, Harkin has been targeting these for-profit facilities telling the public they, for the most part, don’t provide the same standards of education as not-for-profit education facilities. According to a press release on September 22 via his website, Harkin has these bulleted points:
- Of the ten educational institutions collecting the most V.A. benefits, eight are for-profit schools. Together, those eight companies collected $1 billion last year (24% of all benefits).
- The cost to taxpayers to send a veteran to a for-profit school is more than double the cost of a public university education: $10,900 vs. $4,900.
- Of the eight for-profit college companies receiving the most G.I. Bill funds, a combined 409,437 students withdrew from degree programs within one year of enrolling.
- The cost to federal taxpayers is out of proportion to the number of veterans served. For-profit schools collected more than one-third (37 percent) of all G.I. Bill funds, but trained only 25 percent of veterans, while public colleges and universities received 40 percent of benefits but trained 59 percent of veterans.
In a “study” Harkin did on for-profit v. non-for profit centers, he particularly calls out the for-profit Apollo Group which runs the University of Phoenix claiming they received $210 million from the G.I. Bill last year and that a better use of taxpayer dollars would be sending veterans to not-for profit schools. However the University of Phoenix has acquired “Yellow Ribbon Status” under the G.I. bill (FYI one has to put in a specific state and educational facility in this website, it will not save the link) which means that:
Currently the Post-9/11 GI Bill pays up to the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition and fees. Effective August 1, 2011 the Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay all pay all public school in-state tuition and fees or up to $17,500 annually for a private school.
Now let’s jump over to the University of Iowa in Harkin’s home state. They are a not-for profit university and have also acquired “Yellow Ribbon” status. The University of Iowa authored the Veterans Task Force Report which is an
Assessment of current services and long-term strategies to enhance and provide support for veterans throughout their collegiate career.
Some initial key points:
- The report talks about military students being a potential “yield” to the University and recommends targeting active duty and disabled veteran populations (Appendix B).
- It also touts the fact that University of Iowa is designated “military friendly” by GIJOBS.com. This so happens to be the same group that Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) himself attacked at his press conference earlier this morning, stating that the rating is based on recruitment numbers.
Notable quotes are:
P.1 – Appendix B: “Focus on active duty and disabled veteran populations, as well as their dependents, as the University transitions to military friendly campus.
P.3: “Currently, there are over 350 veterans and 35 active duty personnel attending Iowa. Increasing veteran enrollment by 100 students a year would result an additional $800,000 tuition income annually, with a potential $2 million additional revenue for the Iowa City community.”
But the most interesting factoid about Harkin and his stance is his wife just happens to be on the Board of Visitors at the University of Iowa and she is also on the Iowa State Board of Regents that governs Iowa’s public universities. The report was reviewed by the State Board of Regents. Her picture is below:
Perhaps a conflict of interest here, Senator Harkin? Attempting to steer by use of your Congressional office taypayer dollars to a university whom your wife has an alliance with?
Ironically Harkin used the G.I. Bill to attend law school after his navy career, calling it:
“one of the federal government’s smartest investments.” Now, he says, Congress needs to act to ensure veterans who use the benefits get a quality education.”
Whatever the cost Senator Harkin, our veterans are entitled to the best education this country can offer and which is the most convenient for them and their families, given their service to advance freedom of this great United States.
Crossposted at Conservative Outlooks