AB 1731 Seeks to Protect GI-Bill Recipients from Predatory Postsecondary Educational Institutions

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By Mackenzie McCoy

AB 1731 (Davies), as introduced on January 31, 2022, would add section 67102.5 to the Education Code to require the California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education (CSAAVE) to establish reasonable criteria for postsecondary institutions seeking to enroll students eligible for federal Title 38 awards on or before January 1, 2024. Title 38 of the United States Code codifies all veteran education programs and can be colloquially referred to as the “GI Bill.”

Specifically, the bill would require CSAAVE to establish regulations requiring postsecondary educational institutions to provide information such as: (i) the institution’s loan default rate; (ii) evidence that the institution meets financial responsibility requirements; (iii) evidence of the institution’s accreditation status; (iv) if lawsuits from students, former students, or public prosecutors have been filed against the institution on charges such as fraud within five years of the application; and (v) information regarding student’s success rates during and after their programs.

According to the author’s legislative background sheet, for-profit postsecondary schools aggressively recruit veterans in order to enroll GI bill beneficiaries in their institutions. Recruiting departments at private for-profit postsecondary educational institutions face pressure to enroll GI Bill beneficiaries even though many schools have high tuition costs and low probability of student success after completing programs. While CSAAVE began to issue regulations that would have established such “reasonable criteria,” it has not finalized them. AB 1731 would ensure that CSAAVE has all the information necessary to determine whether or not a postsecondary educational program should receive access to this hard-earned federal funding.

AB 1731 is currently scheduled to be heard in committee on March 3, 2022.

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