Mr. Theodore (Ted) L. Daywalt
Good Afternoon. Chairman Stutzman, Ranking Member Braley, members and staff of the Subcommittee, and fellow veterans, I appreciate the opportunity to submit comments on Executive Order 13607 (EO 13607) and its impact on schools and veteran education.
EO 13607 mandates that schools provide information about the total cost of the educational program including amount of debt owed on any student loans after graduation; inform veterans about other forms of financial aid before advising them of private student loans; end fraudulent and unduly predatory recruiting techniques on and off military installations; obtain approval of the state accrediting agency for new courses prior to enrollment; allow service members to be readmitted if they had to suspend their attendance temporarily due to military service requirements; agree to a refund policy when veterans withdraw prior to course completion; provide a plan that details all the requirements needed for program completion and the time it will take to complete them; and designate a person(s) to provide counseling with regard to academics, financial aid, disabilities, and job searches.
I want to emphasize that not all for-profit schools are bad, but those that are bad, are VERY bad and unfortunately they negatively affect the good for-profit school programs. There is definitely a demand and a need for legitimate online for-profit schools.
Many of the organizations that are testifying before you today will rightly extoll the benefits of EO 13607 as it is a good first step in the right direction. Rather than repeat what VFW, VVA, SVA and others are saying, I would like to focus on four issues that need to be included in the discussion.
1. Not all for-profit schools are bad
Many of the for-profit schools in the military education space have definitely stepped over the line, and in some cases, committed fraud, waste and outright theft. A recent Government Accounting Office investigation of for-profit schools found outright fraud and violations of law at all the schools examined, yet VA and DOD permit the schools to continue marketing to veterans, servicemembers and their families. Such a situation should not be allowed to continue.
EO 13607 does not distinguish between good and bad for-profit schools, which is why I prefer to use the term “predatory for-profit” schools when talking about those with egregious records. EDMC, parent company to Argosy University, The Art Institute, Mackey-Brown and South University, is currently under indictment from the Department of Justice for $11,000,000,000 in fraud and deserves being referred to as a predatory for-profit school. Schools such as Western Governors University, University of Phoenix and American Military University do not currently engage in the egregious practices of EDMC and Kaplan. It would help veterans when looking at schools to know which schools are predatory for-profits and which are actually providing a legitimate education that can lead to gainful employment.
2. Accreditation Issues
Many of the for-profit schools cannot qualify for accreditation through traditional accrediting agencies such as SAC or the AACSB. So to claim “accreditation”, they created their own accrediting agencies, which are not recognized by other traditional brick and mortar schools or state departments of education. Not knowing any better, veterans were conned by the bad for-profit schools claims that they were accredited.
To learn more about the fake accrediting organizations offering accreditation, please visithttp://www.geteducated.com/diploma-mills-police/college-degree-mills/204-fake-agencies-for-college-accreditation.
To learn more about legitimate school and college accrediting agencies, please visithttp://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/index.html.
EO 13607 should have included a move to stop the predatory for-profit schools from using fake accreditation claims in their sales pitch to veterans needs to be taken.
3. Restoring BI Gill Eligibility
As you will hear from nearly all those testifying, veterans have had their GI Bill funds stolen and/or they have misled into obtaining worthless degrees that do not lead to gainful employment. At VetJobs we regularly encounter veterans who thought they would qualify for a job since they had a degree only to learn they are not qualified because the hiring entity or graduate school does not recognize their degree. The veterans were victims of fraud but now have no money with which to attend an institution of higher learning and obtain a degree that will lead to gainful employment.
As EO 13607 did not address this issue, Congress needs to redress this issue and provide mechanisms by which those veterans who were victims of fraud by the predatory for-profit schools can have their GI Bill eligibility restored. This can be done by recovering from the predatory for-profit schools funds to restore GI Bill eligibility to the veterans.
4. Incentives for legitimate schools
EO 13607 did not address how the traditional accredited educational institutions could increase their efforts to attract more veterans and servicemembers into their colleges and universities by offering more flexible education options to include online course work. If the traditional organizations offerings were marketed better to the veteran community, it would reduce the appeal of the predatory for-profit schools.
Congress needs to implement laws to stop the predatory practices of for-profit schools and institutions. Congress needs to enact legislation to enforce the Principles of Excellence as put forth in Executive Order #13607 for the benefit of our veterans, their families and our community.
In conclusion, I would have preferred the issues addressed by EO 13607 be handled by Congress enacting the appropriate legislation. But given this is an election year and political parties have been having problems working together to enact necessary legislation, EO 13607 is an appropriate move in the right direction. A presidential executive order does not have the impact that Congressional legislation would provide. Therefore I would support legislation that addresses the problem of predatory for-profit schools.
Higher education, congressional leaders, and government agencies need to work together to ensure that the GI Bill investment pays off in degrees with labor market value, such as those found in traditional graduate and professional schools.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
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Biography of Ted Daywalt
Since 1999 Mr. Daywalt has been the president and CEO of VetJobs (www.vetjobs.com), the leading military job board on the Internet, sponsored and partially owned by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and recognized as the top military job board by CareerXRoads, WEDDLE’s, Workforce Management Magazine, AIRS, Reader’s Digest, BusinessWeek and AOL. Mr. Daywalt is regularly cited and interviewed in the press, including USA Today, CNN, 60 Minutes, Military Times, PBS Frontline, NPR, and FOX Business News.
Mr. Daywalt served on active duty in the Navy for seven years. He initially served as a Line Officer on a destroyer with cruises to South America, Europe and Russia. He was then assigned to the Commander United States Naval Forces, Europe headquarters in London, England, as an intelligence watch officer and later as a geopolitical analyst with responsibilities for the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa. In 1978 he transferred to the Naval Reserve Intelligence Program, from which he retired as a Captain (O-6) with 28 years of service.
Following his active naval service and obtaining an MBA, he entered private industry in 1980 as a plant manager and later as an executive in the steel industry. He has held senior and C level executive positions in the steel, electric utility, importing, chemical, biomedical waste and recruiting industries. Mr. Daywalt has been active in the recruiting and staffing industry since 1994.
Mr. Daywalt is published and is an in demand speaker for various business organizations, government agencies and universities, speaking on recruiting and retention, the Internet, educational and economic trends, military and veterans issues. Mr. Daywalt regularly testifies before congressional committees on veteran and economic issues and has been appointed to many government agency review committees regarding military/veteran, employment and economic issues.
Mr. Daywalt is a noted motivational speaker and is known nationwide as an advocate for veterans. Mr. Daywalt was one of the CEOs invited to the White House Jobs Summit in November 2009 and testified before the President’s Commission on the National Guard and Reserve.
Mr. Daywalt currently sits on several corporate Boards of Directors; is Chairman of the Atlanta Regional Military Affairs Council (ARMAC); Chairman of Congressman Tom Price’s (GA-R-6) Military Affairs Council; Director, College Educators for Veterans’ Higher Education; consulting futurist for The Herman Group; Board of Governors, International Association of Employment Web Sites (IAEWS). Past affiliations include the Board of Alumni for Goizueta Business School, Emory University; Board of Directors of Naval Intelligence Professionals.
Mr. Daywalt is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, AMVETS, Military Officers Association of America, Reserve Officers Association, Military Order of the World Wars, Navy League, Association of the US Navy, Navy Enlisted Reserve Association, Naval Intelligence Professionals and National Military Intelligence Association.
Mr. Daywalt earned a BS from Florida State University (1971), an MA in International Relations from the University of Southern California (1977) and an MBA from the Goizueta Business School, Emory University (1980).