Thursday, December 9, 2010

Colleges looking to exploit returning veterans

Make sure you don't get burned by Kaplan's torch

Tonight, an article appearing in the Huffington Post shone the light on a disturbing trend. It seems that increasingly, some colleges are pressuring returning veterans to enroll and put their GI Bill educational benefits to work. The article which is entitled For profit colleges cashing in on veterans just happens to have a Laredo connection. An excerpt relates:

Roger Betancourt was among the first soldiers to parachute into Iraq in March 2003, with the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade. He finished his service in 2004, worked several odd jobs around Laredo, Texas, and by early 2009 he was looking to improve his options by taking advantage of his GI Bill benefits.

In July 2009, he enrolled at Kaplan University online, after being recruited heavily by an academic advisor specializing in military recruitment. Betancourt said he was skeptical at first, especially because he hadn't been able to discuss the funding with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"It was a very aggressive process," said Betancourt, now 28. "I felt a lot of pressure, to the point where I felt like I was buying a car. Like they were trying to sell me a Mustang and I just wanted to buy a truck."

After the recruiter called his wife, Betancourt said he eventually decided to enroll, trusting the recruiter's word that all VA issues had been resolved. Less than two months later, he heard from the VA that his paperwork was not in order. He was not yet eligible for the benefits, and he had $2,300 in outstanding charges from Kaplan.

Unable to pay off the bill, he was locked out of classes and is now working two jobs to get the charges off his credit report.

So much for those commercials featuring the Kaplan smiling receptionist  urging you to "Please call now" and join Kaplan College so you can start your new carreer. I wonder if they mean the career necessary to pay the fees incurred by unsuspecting  Kaplan enrollees who have been hoodwinked in believing their GI benefits are active when they might not be.

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