APSCU's Five Tenets of Veterans' Education

Our country's military and veteran students have a right to choose the school and education that best meets their needs and goals. They deserve the right to make informed choices based on transparent disclosure of information, including critical data about education programs and outcomes. All higher education institutions, regardless of their tax status, should be accountable in this regard. To this end, APSCU supports the following Five Tenets of Veterans' Education:

COUNSELING

As part of the Chapter 38 vocational and education counseling process, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should be required to provide counseling to all prospective students. This should include unbiased, comprehensive educational disclosures before an individual receives his or her education benefit, except in cases where an individual declines such services. 

Further, Chapter 38 counseling should include information on available federal and state aid and educational benefits, financial literacy and student loan debt counseling, and the importance of developing an academic plan with the institution. The VA should provide the counseling to eligible individuals in a clear, easily accessible format to assist prospective students in making sound postsecondary education choices.

INSTITUTIONAL DISCLOSURES

Before students enroll or incur any financial obligation, all higher education institutions should disclose and make readily available through their catalogues, websites, and other resources that specifically pertain to all individuals eligible for military or veteran education benefits the following information:

  • If the institution participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program
  • If the institution is a Servicemember Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium Member
  • If the institution signed the Department of Defense (DoD) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
  • If any student veteran organizations have been created
  • If the institution offers reduced tuition rates to military students
  • Military-specific scholarships or programs provided by the institution
  • Leave of absence and refund policies that apply to military and veteran students
  • A comprehensive description of academic and student support services available to military and veteran students, including job placement and career counseling services
  • Number of degrees and certificates conferred to military and veteran students in each of the three most recent academic years
  • Percentage of military and veteran students enrolled in degree or certificate programs who complete within normal, 150 percent, or 200 percent of the normal time for each of the three most recent academic years
  • Placement rates for individuals eligible for military and veterans education benefits and available for placement
  • State licensure program passage rates, to the extent states make such data publicly available
  • An explanation that transfer of academic credit is at the discretion of the receiving institution

COMPLAINT PROCESS

The VA's centralized complaint system should be developed with input from other veteran-education stakeholders to help ensure that student complaints are addressed effectively and in a timely manner. The complaint system must ensure accountability and transparency for all parties involved. Complaints should not be anonymous, and the due-process rights of institutions must be appropriately balanced with respect for the privacy of a veteran student's complaints. Creation of such a system should be implemented through a public rulemaking process initiated by the VA.

In addition, APSCU believes that all higher education institutions that enroll military and veteran students should have a clearly defined process for such students to communicate grievances and discuss other concerns. This process should be outlined in public documents such as the university catalogue, website, or other appropriate vehicles and should include a point of contact at the institution.

VETERAN OUTCOMES

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is examining several issues related to VA education programs, including what is known about student outcomes. However, before it can provide a clear picture, an executive order requires institutions to use the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) “Know Before You Owe” form so military and veteran students can understand each institution's academic and student outcomes, based on the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). 

Unfortunately, all sectors of higher education and the military and veterans education communities strongly agree that IPEDS does not adequately reflect the unique, nontraditional, military and veteran student population. The Know Before You Owe form is not sufficiently nuanced to reflect the complexity of military and veterans educational assistance, and it does not reflect crucial student demographics, such as eligibility for Pell Grants. 

In fact, the Know Before You Owe prototype sheet does not reference military or veterans benefits at all. Rather than receiving the resources and information to make sound educational decisions, prospective students will instead receive incomplete, misrepresentative data that will likely cause more confusion than assistance. Following the conclusion of the GAO study, APSCU invites the administration, lawmakers, and the higher education and veterans education communities to work together to fix the current data-collection system and create a form that is representative, accurate, and serves as a true resource for all prospective students.

APSCU BLUE RIBBON PANEL

APSCU intends lead an initiative to identify, collect, discuss, and document practices and programs that meet the unique needs of veteran students so they can meet their academic and professional goals. The result will be a clear, practical set of “best practices” and guidelines for all higher education institutions to consider and adopt. Learn More>>

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PSCUs open doors to many of the 13 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills. PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.