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Posted: 1:38 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Military warned to stay away from for-profit colleges

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ClarkHoward.com and The Clark Howard Show offer more advice for members of our nation's armed forces.

By Clark Howard


Military personnel seeking a college education after they serve their country are getting ripped off by recruiters at for-profits colleges. While there are new rules in place to protect them, I'm recommending you take one additional step to safeguard yourself or your loved one in the military.

It is so abusive that the brave men and women who return from protecting our nation receive our thank you when some sleazy commissioned salesperson at a for-profit school cons them into signing up for an education program just to get at their federal benefits or federal loan money.

At the end of the program, our soldiers, sailors and airmen and women end up essentially with nothing to show for it, having either exhausted their military education benefits or having taking on obligation for loans that are worthless to them with the lack of education they receive.

As I mentioned, there are now new federal rules designed to protect military personnel and their families when it comes to this kind of thing. The idea is to make it more difficult for for-profit colleges to rip off soldiers. But these are just rules and the crooks will try to get around them any way they can.

So I need you to tell the military member in your life to stay away from for-profit private schools. I'm as capitalistic as they come, but I make an exception in this area because there's so much danger involved.

For-profit schools live on and are fed by federal money. They do not operate in a normal capitalist environment. They use commissioned salespeople to get military to sign on the dotted line to essentially transfer funds from the federal taxpayer to their schools.

Make sure your soldier knows when they finish their tour of service to our nation that they are best served by getting an education at a traditional state school, a community college, a technical school or a traditional private non-profit college or university.

Yes, my advice throws the baby out with the bath water because there are legitimate and decent for-profit schools, but the danger from the con artists in the same arena is just too hot to handle.

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