January 30, 2014
New Online Complaint System Empowers Students, Strengthens Enforcement
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Education
and Justice, along with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the
Federal Trade Commission announced today the launch of a new online complaint
system designed to collect feedback from veterans, service members and their
families who are experiencing problems with educational institutions receiving funding
from Federal military and veterans educational benefits programs, including
benefits programs provided by the Post-9/11 GI Bill® and
the DoD Military
Tuition Assistance Program.
The centralized online reporting system is designed for veterans, service
members and eligible dependents to report negative experiences with educational
institutions; and gives the federal government the information needed to
identify and address unfair, deceptive, and misleading practices and ensure
high quality academic and student support services are available for veterans,
service members, and their families.
“The online complaint system empowers veterans and their dependents and
provides them a direct line to VA and our partner agencies,” said Allison A.
Hickey, Under Secretary for Benefits, Department of Veterans Affairs. “The
feedback we receive from veterans, service members and their families will help
us strengthen enforcement of the ‘Principles of Excellence’ for institutions of
higher learning serving veterans and their families to ensure students are
receiving the education benefits they have earned and deserve.”
"Our service members and their families now have an easier and
efficient way to provide feedback on their civilian educational experiences,
which will ensure we have the right information to identify and address any
negative practices," said Jessica Wright, Acting Under Secretary of
Defense for Personnel and Readiness.
Students can submit a complaint if they believe their school is failing to
follow the Principles of Excellence, (i.e. unfair recruiting practices, credit
transfer or change in degree requirements) through the centralized online
reporting system accessed via the Department of Defense and GI Bill websites. When feedback is
received, agencies will contact the school on behalf of the student and work
toward a resolution. Complaints and their resolution 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.
Executive Order 13607, signed April 27, 2012, addresses reports of unfair,
deceptive or misleading behavior toward Veterans, service members and their
families pursuing higher education and 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 for America’s veterans, service members and eligible
dependents, including preventing abusive and deceptive recruiting practices.
The new online complaint system is one of a range of tools being implemented by
the federal government to ensure that service members, veterans and eligible
dependents have access to meaningful information about the cost and quality of