The Toledo Blade's Feb. 4 editorial "Close GI Bill loophole" seeks to address a problem that concerns those of us in higher education. If one veteran is mistreated in his or her post-service education, it should be stopped.
However, legislation proposed by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois inaccurately implies that private-sector colleges and universities target American service members and that changes will prevent abuse. Unfortunately, his legislation will actually deny many veterans access to post-secondary education.
The 90/10 rule is a law that applies only to private-sector colleges. It prevents them from receiving more than 90 percent of their revenues from the U.S. Department of Education.
In practice, the rule is a disincentive for schools to admit lower-income students who rely upon federal financial aid. It hurts the very students the federal programs are intended to help.
Between 150,000 and 200,000 veterans are getting their post-secondary education through career colleges. Senator Durbin has lifted up three cases of unfortunate problems. Should we deny the other 199,000 veterans access because of three mistakes?
Rather than closing a funding loophole, Senator Durbin's legislation severely restricts veterans' choices on how best to use their earned GI Bill benefits.
Career-oriented colleges are a critical part of the U.S. higher education system. Today, 6.1 percent of undergraduates enrolled at career colleges are military service members or veterans, compared to 3.9 percent at public institutions and 4.2 percent at private nonprofit institutions.
Rather than discriminating against students who don't have the means to pay for college out of pocket, senators should be examining proposals to enhance institutional accountability, reduce costs, and promote student empowerment through education and financial literacy.
The dialogue on higher education reform should center on common-sense proposals that promote, rather than limit, access and choices.
President and CEO
Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities