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Predatory Education

Predatory Education

When the GI bill changed in July of 2008 to the post 9/11 it created an exponential increase in the amount of money available to veterans. I went to school on a yellow ribbon scholarship on the post 9/11 GI bill and, quite frankly, I felt somewhat guilty about the amount of money that the government was spending on me.

The post 9/11 GI bill is the result of election bingo and while there were honorable people involved like Robert Byrd the deceased senator from West Virginia; the whole of it (I suspect) was a ploy to embarrass the republicans before the 2008 elections. Be that as it may, it was a great legislation that had finally seen its time. The Montgomery GI bill did not keep up with soaring cost of education and cost of living.

The scatter for market share is led by technical schools that spend exorbitant amount of money on advertising that takes away market share from really good universities that these vets could possibly attend. Hypothetically, you could go to Harvard or Yale on this version of the bill. This was the intention the original GI bill to created with, the birth of a new intellectual class made up of returning WWII veterans.

There is nothing wrong with technical schools like Devry and ITT-Tech but the amount of money they are spending on advertising overshadows opportunities that these veterans might have. High quality top 100 institutions don’t traditionally advertise. I would never accuse the VA of not advertising benefits so they could spend less money on veterans. But many veterans I had known didn’t even know the GI bill changed let alone that the yellow ribbon scholarship existed. It turns out that the for profit institutions who have grabbed market share consist of just eight for profit educational conglomerates.

“Statistics compiled by the staff of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, are alarming veteran advocacy groups, particularly in light of abuses by some for-profit colleges uncovered by congressional audits and by enterprising news organizations.

During the 2010-11 academic year, VA disbursed $4.4 billion Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to nearly 6000 institutions. Almost one quarter of those dollars – $1.02 billion – was paid to just eight for-profit companies.”

The following NPR segment covers this issue well:

The for profit education system has stolen one of the greatest equalizing legislations ever and is robbing the American public of its new intellectual class. Veterans graduating from these for profit schools will fare even worse in this economy and the opportunities available to them are diminished even further. Veterans have the highest unemployment rates in this country.

About karololesiak

Karol Olesiak is a poet, writer, and activist. He is a graduate of Eugene Lang Liberal Arts College at The New School and an MFA student at The University of San Francisco. As a Navy sailor, he commissioned the USS Ronald Reagan, navigated the straits of Magellan, and served in the Persian Gulf. In 2011 Karol headlined The Bowery Poetry Club in New York. That same year he became a staunch supporter of The Occupy Wall Street Movement and became entrenched in the Occupy network of affinity groups. Karol was one of the founders of He became an antiwar activist in 2010 and has written many political essays. He has been translated into Spanish. Karol's poetry has been incorporated into cinematography and sound art.


  1. I just finished my third class at the University of Phoenix campus in San Diego. Their curriculum is a joke and it is easy to earn A’s in every class. One of the good things about it though is the style in which you participate in the classes.

    I’ve always had anxiety problems, and they used to get amplified exponentially whenever I had to do public speaking. I’ve become a much better public speaker because at the UoP we have to speak in front of the class almost every night.

    Good and bad on both sides, but if I had a choice I would be at a not-for-profit school most definitely.

  2. I didn’t mention Phoenix because they have their finer point. Not all for profits are bad but if one is not aware of ones opportunities how can one realize them.

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