Yale Law School condemns Veterans Affairs, providing evidence of failure to protect veterans

The Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Clinic at the Yale Law School held a press conference on Monday, November 2, 2015 at 9:30 A.M. to announce the results of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Vietnam Veterans of America and the National Veterans Council for Legal Redress against the Department of Defense (DOD), Army, Navy, and Air Force.

The VA is reportedly failing to do its part when it comes to protecting vets against deceptive recruiting practices, by for-profit schools.

According to a memo from Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic, the Department of Veterans Affairs has the authority to deny GI funds to colleges that use deceptive recruiting practices, but the VA has failed to do so.

The memo said: “Although the VA is responsible for overseeing education benefits for veterans, it has been slow to join other agencies in addressing deceptive practices.”

The Yale memorandum, dated Feb 26, 2016, prompted some members of Congress to urge the VA to take action.  In a press release dated April 1, 2016, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) called on the agency to protect vets from predatory colleges.

“The VA has a clear moral and legal obligation to identify fraudulent behavior at schools that enroll veterans,” said Blumenthal.

“The VA should also partner with the Federal Trade Commission and other agencies to crack down on predatory for-profit schools so that veterans do not waste their hard-earned benefits on worthless degrees,” he added.

The release also stated that a Senate Committee report found that several for-profit colleges “engaged in pain-based recruiting, such as instructing recruiters to target veterans by ‘pok[ing] the pain’ – a practice which preyed on the psyches of veterans vulnerable from their military experience to increase the chances of enrolling them.”

While the VA oversees the distribution of G.I. Bill funds, the agency has suggested it does not have the authority to disapprove funding.

While the VA stands on the sidelines, other federal agencies– like the Dept. of Education and the SEC, among others — have investigated or sued schools engaging in such practices.

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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