By Debbie Gregory.
Newly released documents have revealed the unsavory military recruiting practices used by the University of Phoenix that led to a recruiting ban in 2015.
Military regulations adopted as a result of President Obama’s executive order were supposed to “ban inducements, including any gratuity, favor, discount, (or) entertainment” for the “purpose of securing enrollments of Service members.” Recruiting activities are supposed to be limited to education fairs and other narrowly approved activities where every school would have equal access.
But the regulations say nothing about sponsoring events.
The University of Phoenix paid the military $25,000 to sponsor a concert by country rapper Big Smo on the parade ground at Fort Campbell.
The for-profit college, which had become the largest recipient of taxpayer subsidies under the post-9/11 GI Bill, was also allowed to erect advertising banners and place promotional materials in high-traffic areas and in welcome packets for newly arrived soldiers at Fort Campbell, in exchange for financial payments.
For-profit colleges have been criticized for preying on veterans and low-income students. Two of them, Corinthian and ITT Tech, filed for bankruptcy and closed their doors.
Pentagon spokeswoman Laura Ochoa said the University of Phoenix is now in compliance with federal regulations and may resume sponsoring events on bases, as long as the sponsorship payments follow the protocols designed to prevent predatory practices.
Student Veterans of America’s vice president Will Hubbard said the contract between Fort Campbell and the University of Phoenix was crafted to make service members believe the military was endorsing the for-profit college.
“The University of Phoenix is spending substantially above and beyond what any public or nonprofit private school can afford,” he said. “Frankly, that’s because (other schools are) spending their money on education.”