For the past 10 years, service members, veterans, their families and survivors, using their GI Bill and tuition assistance (TA) benefits, have had a large target on their backs. This year, having just marked the 75th anniversary of the GI Bill on Saturday, Congress has the chance to fix it.
The 90-10 rule in the Higher Education Act was created by Congress as a market viability test to protect taxpayers from artificially propping up a failing college of such low quality that no employer or student would be willing to pay for it. As the Supreme Court explained the rule’s precursor, it is “a device intended by Congress to allow the free-market mechanism to operate and weed out those institutions [that] could survive only by the heavy influx of Federal payments.”
The law unintentionally creates a loophole that excludes Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DOD) funds in the cap on federal funds that colleges otherwise face. The real-world impact of the loophole means that for every dollar of GI Bill or DOD tuition assistance, schools become eligible for another $9 of Title IV funds, thus incentivizing predatory schools to target military-connected students.