Mark Takano 2015-06-06 02:10:35
This Memorial Day, we remember those who sacrificed so much for our nation and gave their lives in the name of freedom, not just because of the uniform they wore, but because they represented the values that make our nation the greatest in the world. And out of respect of their sacrifice, we should be doing all we can to take care of the veterans and servicemembers who served alongside them. Our veterans should be receiving top-notch care and should receive as much assistance as possible as they integrate back into civilian life. The fact is that many servicemembers and veterans are drawn to serve because of the benefits they are promised, including tuition assistance and GI Bill benefits. We are indebted to them for their sacrifice and these benefits are well deserved. So I was surprised to learn that some for-profit college institutions were intentionally recruiting servicemembers and veterans for the purpose of receiving their guaranteed benefits. As we now know, many of those for-profit colleges were defrauding and misleading students, as 30 state Attorneys General, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Securities Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Department of Justice are investigating for-profit colleges for fraudulent practices. Last month, Corinthian Colleges Inc., which owns Everest College, closed its remaining campuses, leaving more than 16,000 students in limbo and thousands of employees without a job. It is estimated that the closure of Corinthian Colleges Inc. could cost American taxpayers $214 million through loan relief. However, servicemembers and veterans are unable to receive the same kind of relief, as they are unable to reset their benefits, even in cases where they were defrauded or misled by a for-profit college. In order to fix this, I introduced an amendment that would restore eligibility for Department of Defense benefits, including tuition assistance, if an individual is unable to complete their education due to the closure of the school. Even though the Republican- controlled House Rules Committee refused to consider the amendment, I will continue to explore other avenues to help servicemembers and other students who have been taken advantage of. If we truly care about our veterans and servicemembers, we should be doing all we can to ensure they are able to live productive lives and contribute to our economy. On this Memorial Day, let’s remember those who paid the ultimate price, and honor their memory by recommitting ourselves to taking care of our servicemembers and veterans and ensuring that they are able to land on their feet once their service is completed.
Published by Moreno Valley Business Journal. View All Articles.