Obama: Executive Order Protects Military, Vet Students
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 28, 2012 President Barack Obama dedicated his weekly radio and video address today to describing the advantages of a new executive order designed to crack down on bad actors who prey on service members and veterans considering higher education.
Obama, who traveled yesterday to Fort Stewart, Ga., to unveil the new order, called it vital protection to brave men and women who are often bombarded by schools that provide false or misleading information about things like interest rates on loans, credit transfers, and job placement programs.
The order, he explained, will make it easier for military members and veterans to make informed decisions about financial aid and paying for college and also takes a number of steps to fight deceptive practices by some institutions.
“These men and women have fought with bravery and honor in some of the most dangerous places on the planet,” the president said today, noting that some never returned. “But those who did are now fighting a different kind of battle here at home,” he said. “They’re looking for new jobs, new opportunities, and new ways to serve.”
For many, Obama said, that means returning to school with help from the 9/11 GI Bill and tuition assistance program to help defray costs. Last year, these measures supported more than a half-million veterans and more than 300,000 service members who are pursuing a higher education, he noted.
“That’s progress,” he said. “But it’s not enough to just help our veterans and service members afford school -– we need to make sure they have all the tools they need to make an informed decision when it comes to picking the right program.”
Obama recognized the sad truth that some unscrupulous people are “less interested in helping our men and women in uniform get ahead and more interested in making a buck.” They game the system, he said, bombarding potential students with high-pressure tactics and steering them toward high-interest loans and misleading credit transfers and job placement programs.
“That’s appalling. It’s disgraceful,” he said. “And even though the vast majority of schools do the right thing, we need to guard against the bad actors who don’t.”
The new executive order will make it tougher for those who try to prey on service members and veterans. It will ensure they get the straight facts and make it easier to file complaints, he said.
The result, the president said, will be more security for service members, veterans and their families.
“When our men and women in uniform succeed, our country succeeds,” Obama said. “ They have our back; now it’s our turn to have theirs. And as long as I’m president, I’m going to make sure that anyone who serves this country gets every opportunity they deserve.”