In late April, Corinthian Colleges (the parent company for Heald College, Everest College, WyoTech, and Everest College Phoenix) closed, discontinuing instruction at all of their branches. As a result, approximately 400 students using GI Bill benefits were placed into the difficult situation of finding new educational institutions at which to finish their studies. Thankfully, situations like the closure or suspension of a school are uncommon but VA is here to support.
In addition to VA, other agencies play a key role when schools close unexpectedly, such as the State Approving Agencies and the Department of Education. In the case of the Corinthian Colleges closure, VA has reached out to the displaced GI Bill students to clarify how the closure impacts their benefits and discuss next steps. Students were notified that their monthly education benefits for the term were stopped, but that no student debts will be created as a result of the closure. To raise awareness, we published information about the school closure on the Post-9/11 GI Bill Facebook page and the GI Bill website soon after the news broke. Additionally, we have been answering questions submitted through the Facebook page to ensure that concerns are addressed and to help alleviate the frustration resulting from the closure.
We have also been focusing on providing information and access to resources that will assist our GI Bill beneficiaries in making informed decisions. Displaced students are advised to utilize the information on the GI Bill website to help them make informed choices regarding the future of their education. Those who plan to continue with their studies should visit the GI Bill Comparison Tool to find an approved program of education. We strongly recommend that students research potential schools and discuss credit transferability with any new school prior to enrollment.
Unfortunately, VA does not have the authority to restore entitlement used while attending a school or program that closes, so it is crucial that GI Bill beneficiaries research their schools before enrolling, casting a critical eye at schools that engage in aggressive marketing tactics or those that may have been the target of disparaging newspaper headlines. Reviewing complaint information, submitted through our GI Bill Feedback System, is another way to avoid attending a school that may not be worthy of your hard-earned benefits. You can see the number of complaints by institution and by what type when you search for schools in the GI Bill Comparison Tool. Treat your decision on where to go to school like any other major life decision by doing the research and asking the important questions.
We are here to provide our beneficiaries with the information they need to make the best possible decision regarding their GI Bill benefits. By working together with our beneficiaries we will continue to improve our services and help our customers identify troubled schools.
Written by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs GI Bill® Outreach Development Team