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  • Please also let us know at Veterans Education Success or email us at: We can connect you with pro-bono (free) attorneys, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and we can advocate on your behalf with VA.
  • If you were deceived by a for-profit college, you may be eligible for a partial refund from a fund set up by vets for vets: Go here.


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“If vets are going to go to a for-profit college, call employers, see if they’ll accept an online degree. Compare with state institutions and community colleges, and classes on post. Do your research first before jumping in with both feet like I did.”
Army Sgt. Christopher Pantzke

“I specifically asked ITT Tech before signing up whether their degree was the same as any other public 4-year university and was told YES. I found out while applying at NYPD, LAPD, Seattle PD and 23 other police departments that NONE of them accepted ITT Tech credits. Once I found out that my time and money spent at ITT Tech was worthless, I tried to transfer my credits to a community college. I was told I have to start completely over as a freshman.”
Marine Specialist Bryan Babcock

“When I attempted to transfer my units from Brown Mackie to Pasadena City College in California, I found out that none of my units transferred because they didn’t have the right level of accreditation. Not only did Brown Mackie lie about their accreditation level but they lied about (the) level of education they offer… I have a debt with nothing to show for it and am struggling to stay afloat.”
Marine Corporal Anselm Caddell

“I was told that the Art Institute had a 93% job placement rating and since the school had campuses all over the U.S., that I would have access to a nationwide network of employers… It wasn't until near the end of my schooling that I began to realize that a lot of the training I was getting was outdated, in some instances by a few years, and that I had a long way to go until I was up to par with the industry standards. I also found out that… my program had a success rate of only 38%. I have student loans that I am going to be paying off for years and really I have nothing to show for it.”
Air National Guard Corporal Chad Putnam

“There are some bad actors out there. They’ll say you don’t have to pay a dime for your degree but, once you register, they’ll suddenly make you sign up for a high interest student loan. They’ll say that if you transfer schools, you can transfer credits. But when you try to actually do that, you suddenly find out that you can’t. They’ll say they’ve got a job placement program when, in fact, they don’t. They’re trying to swindle and hoodwink you. They don’t care about you; they care about the cash.”
President Barack Obama, April 27, 2012, signing Executive Order 13607
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1. If a school sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

2. Beware of promises. Avoid schools that “guarantee jobs.” Some schools have ads claiming 90% job placement rate – that’s false advertising. Don’t believe promises about specific jobs or salaries you can get. Report any false advertising to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

3. Research. Research. Research. There are many resources to pick a college, especially the new GI Bill College Comparison tool at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Also check out the Education Department’s College Navigator and Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America’s GI Bill Calculator.

4. If a school is pushing you to sign up, beware. Don’t sign up the same day. Reputable schools don’t harass you to enroll. Schools that pressure you don’t care about you. Don’t believe lines like, “Classes are starting soon; I won’t be able to save you a spot if you don’t enroll today.” This is a classic deception.

5. Find out all of your options. State universities and community colleges usually cost less and offer accredited, licensed programs, with reputations for quality. Before you sign up: Compare the costs. Compare the quality. Compare graduation rates in your field.

6. Avoid unlicensed or poorly accredited schools and programs. Even some big name schools offer programs that are unlicensed, such as Kaplan’s “law school” or dental assistant program. If you go to an unlicensed or unaccredited program, you are likely to find out that you are not eligible to get a license to get the job. Don’t believe them about their “accreditation.” There are many fake accrediting boards. Only go to a program that’s accredited by the accreditation that employers in your field respect.

7. Don’t take their word for it. Find out for yourself. Some schools will mislead you. Don’t believe labels like “Veteran-Friendly,” “Military-Friendly,” and “Military-Approved” – some of these schools treat veterans terribly and are just after GI Bill dollars.
• Ask employers which schools they respect and recommend.
• Sit in on a class. Ask students what they think. Ask graduates about their jobs. Read on-line reviews.
• Find out what percentage of students actually graduate. Do most drop-out? What does that tell you?
• Do a web search – has the school been found guilty of defrauding students? Are there lawsuits pending? Is it the target of federal law enforcement action for deceiving students?
• Find out how much the school spends on education costs. If most of their money is spent on marketing, executive salaries, and aggressive recruiters, then educating students probably isn’t their main focus. Look at the federal data.

8. Make sure your credits transfer. Don’t find out too late that you signed up for worthless credits. What if you want to finish up at a public university or community college or what if you move? Make sure this school’s credits can transfer to a public university or community college (and ask the public university if that’s really true).

9. Don’t sign anything you don’t understand. Some schools trick students into signing “routine paperwork” that is actually loans from the school at very high interest rates. Take the papers home and study them; get help to make sure you understand what you’re signing. Watch out for hidden fees. Look twice at the interest rate on loans the school offers you. Don’t sign a promissory note that will let a school take out loans in your name.

10. Find out how much your degree will actually cost. Be careful of taking on a lot of debt. Know all of the expenses beyond just the tuition. Are there additional fees for materials or technology? Do they charge extra if you change classes or majors, change locations? What if you withdraw, or want a transcript to transfer or after you graduate? Get the school’s tuition cancellation policy in writing. Make sure you can get a refund if you need to cancel or withdraw in the middle of the semester.

More tips from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission:
8 Questions To Ask When Choosing a College After Military Service

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