The harrowing year for-profit universities have heretofore had now begins to show a silver lining. Bloomberg.com reports that for-profit universities, "whose recruitment practices have been probed by Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs, got a boost from changes to a veterans' benefits bill approved in December."
The article goes on to report that
the law will let veterans receive $673 a month for housing while taking college courses online, about half the average allowance for students attending classes on campuses. Passed by Congress Dec. 16 and signed by President Barack Obama last month, it also adds money for veterans in training and non-degree programs that are offered by many for-profit colleges.
This comes as good news for for-profit universities as the new legislation will likely encourage more veterans to take online courses.
But it's not exactly good news for everyone concerned, it appears. The Bloomberg article goes on to report that some for-profits have found themselves cut from the benefit program, because, as the article quotes Democratic Senator Richard Durbin as saying, "'Students are finding themselves in schools that are worthless, with teachers that are without credentials and programs that don't lead to jobs.... This is a national scandal.'"
It behooves the worst offenders in the industry to clean up their act with respect to their recruitment tactics. Veterans represent an especially valuable student population for for-profit universities, because their benefits don't count against the government's cap on education companies' annual revenue from federal grants and loans.
Distance learning can confer tremendous benefits on veterans wishing to learn new vocations. For-profit universities should therefore strive to cultivate sensitivity to the educational needs of this market segment and to ensure that they do indeed offer an educational product of incontrovertible value.