Last month marked the 75th anniversary of the enactment of the G.I. Bill. As we celebrated the Fourth of July this year, we honored the role that service members have played in our country since the birth of this nation and recommit to supporting them as they transition to civilian life.
Veterans of World War I received little more compensation than a train ticket home. The Great Depression hit these veterans hard, and in 1932 a group marched to Washington to demand the bonuses they had earned. Unfortunately, Congress didn’t act until the veterans of World War II began to return home. It was then that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill into law on June 22, 1944.
The original bill, which expired in 1956, provided millions of veterans with education support, home loan benefits, and unemployment pay. The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, signed into law in 2008, provides veterans who served after Sept. 11, 2001 with additional education benefits.
This anniversary of the G.I. Bill serves as a time for us to usher our commitment to supporting our veterans into a new era. As we celebrate the foundational liberty of our nation, we must never forget those who continue to defend the freedom and rights that we first declared on July 4 of 1776.
In honor of this date and those who continue to serve our nation, I want to update you on a piece of legislation I recently introduced in the House: the Defending All Veterans in Education (DAVIE) Act of 2019.
The DAVIE Act will close a loophole in the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill related to a federal policy known as the 90/10 Rule. Under this policy, for-profit colleges can receive federal student aid only if they are able generate at least 10 percent of their revenue from sources other than the federal government. However, G.I. Bill benefits are erroneously counted on the 10 percent side of the ratio, even though they are federally funded.
The 90/10 ratio is supposed to be a measure of school quality, prohibiting federal tax dollars from supporting institutions that cannot earn significant revenue from sources outside the government, such as employers, scholarship endowments, or students who are willing to pay tuition.
This loophole in the law has created predatory for-profit institutions that are almost entirely dependent on the federal government to thrive, apportioning taxpayer dollars on both sides of the 90-10 ratio and taking advantage of service members.
American veterans should not be treated as cash cows by profit-seeking entities. While only 27 percent of G.I. Bill students are enrolled in for-profit institutions, these schools take in almost half of total G.I. Bill funds. From 2009 to 2017, eight of the top 10 recipients of Post-9/11 G.I. Bill tuition and fee payments were for-profit institutions.
For-profits, including ITT Tech, Career Education Corporation, and Education Management Corporation, took in a combined $2.5 billion from G.I. Bill benefits before they closed their doors in the last decade. Another recent wave of closures at Argosy University and The Art Institutes affected more than 1,700 G.I. Bill recipients. When these schools shuttered, enrolled veterans surrendered their G.I. Bill benefits. Many were stranded in debt with no degree and no opportunity to transfer their credits to a legitimate institution of higher learning.
The DAVIE Act will close the for-profit loophole in the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and change the ratio from 90/10 to 80/20. These measures will protect veterans from the predatory recruitment tactics of for-profit schools that offer low-quality, high-cost programs and often leave veterans saddled with debt and worthless degrees. As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the G.I. Bill,
I’m proud to take a stand to strengthen and protect veterans’ education benefits.
In addition, I want to remind you that we are now in the midst of hurricane season. I recommend reading the National Hurricane Center’s guide on hurricane preparedness at www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/ready.php. I also encourage you to download ReadyMDC, Miami-Dade County’s new app that provides residents with up-to-the-minute weather information.
I want to hear from you about the issues affecting our community. Be sure to save the dates for these upcoming Town Hall meetings:
• Coral Gables — July 31;
• City of Miami — Aug. 28;
• Richmond Heights — Oct. 3, and
• Coconut Grove — Oct. 1.
Specific time and location information can be found on my website at https://shalala.house.gov/calendar/.
As always, don’t hesitate to stop by our district office if you need assistance with an issue or want to share your concerns about a policy matter. We’re located at 7700 N. Kendall Dr., Suite 605, Miami, FL 33156, and we’re open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Give us a call if you need help with a federal agency, applying for a federal grant, or requesting a U.S. flag to be flown over the Capitol. You can visit our website at https://shalala.house.gov/services or give us a call at 305-668-2285 or 202-225-3931.
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