Durbin urges other federal agencies to take action against University of Phoenix
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) called on the leaders of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Education recently to reconsider their relationships with the University of Phoenix after a recent Department of Defense report on the school's inappropriate recruiting practices.
In a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald, Durbin urged each agency to work with the Department of Defense to continue taking action against the for-profit university.
“After a months-long review, the Department of Defense announced that it is placing the University of Phoenix on probation and considering no longer allowing the company to participate in the DOD Tuition Assistance (TA) Program," Durbin said. "As part of its probationary status, the University of Phoenix will not be allowed to enroll new students using TA benefits. I am asking the Department of Education (and the VA) to work with DOD to review its findings and take appropriate action to protect students and federal taxpayer dollars.”
The DOD investigation came after an article published by the investigative reporting journal Reveal in June outlined how the University of Phoenix spent nearly $1 million at five large military bases over the last five years sponsoring non-educational events to gain access to servicemembers with GI Bill education funding. The DOD alleges the school's manipulation of the sponsorships suggested a military endorsement of the school that did not exist.
The University of Phoenix is currently being investigated by at least three states' attorneys general, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Education's inspector general.
Durbin's letter said the University of Phoenix is the largest recipient of post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and also received more than $2.7 billion in federal Title IV funding in the 2013-14 academic year.