Online Complaint System Launched for Students Using GI Bill

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Education, and Justice, along with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission, launched a new online complaint system for veterans. Designed to identify institutions of higher education engaged in deceptive, misleading practices, the centralized system collects servicemembers’, veterans’, and dependents’ reports of negative experiences with educational institutions.It then gives the federal government the information needed to identify and address unfair practices and ensure high quality academic and student support services.

“It is not enough to offer veterans the education benefits they have earned and deserve,” said Student Veterans of America (SVA) President and CEO, D. Wayne Robinson. “We must also commit ourselves to ensuring they receive a positive education experience and that we hold institutions of higher education to the same high bar we hold our nation’s servicemembers. This online complaint system is designed to do just that. It empowers student veterans and gives the ‘Principles of Excellence’ a significant backbone on which to rest.”

SVA was a key supporter of Executive Order 13607, which directs agencies to establish, implement and promote compliance with “Principles of Excellence” for educational institutions receiving funding from Federal military and veterans educational benefits programs, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill and DoD Tuition Assistance. Specifically, it addresses reports of higher education institutions’ unfair, deceptive, or misleading behavior toward veterans, servicemembers, and their families. SVA also played an influential role in the passing of H.R. 4057, a piece of legislation that reinforces many of the provisions of E.O. 13607 by directing the VA to improve its consumer education tools for student veterans.

“Effective consumer education and protection is critical to affording veterans a positive education experience. From supporting legislative action such as the Principles of Excellence, to creating high impact programs like 1 Student Veteran in partnership with the VFW, SVA will continue to do all within its power to ensure that every veteran is successful throughout their academic career.”

“As the largest and only non-profit organization solely dedicated to representing student veterans, SVA has worked tirelessly with the VFW and The American Legion for years to see this new centralized complaint system come to fruition. I commend the Department of Veterans Affairs on taking this step to protect our nation’s veterans and I look forward to continuing our important work together.”

Students can submit a complaint if they believe their school is failing to follow the Principles of Excellence through the centralized online reporting system accessed via the Department of Defense and GI Bill website. When feedback is received, agencies will contact the school on behalf of the student and work towards a resolution. Complaints and their resolutions will be forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Sentinel Network, accessible by over 650 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies for use in enhancing and coordinating law enforcement investigations.