You won’t see the University of Phoenix recruiting students on U.S. military bases.
Amid allegations of recruiting violations, the Department of Defense has banned the for-profit chain of colleges from recruiting at military facilities and accessing the DoD’s tuition assistance program, which provides financial aid to active-duty troops, The Wall Street Journal reports.
University of Phoenix President Tim Slottow said the DoD’s move to ban recruiting efforts and cut off tuition assistance to new students came as a surprise.
“The University intends to continue its cooperation with federal and state agencies to respond to their requests,” he said in a statement. “University representatives have been working closely with DoD leaders and we all expected a different response from DoD.”
According to the DoD, the University of Phoenix failed to get proper approval for its base events and neglected to get authorization to use trademarked seals and military insignia on the university’s version of the military’s challenge coins, which were used by the military to recognize good work or commemorate an event, CNN Money reports.
The university said it has ceased using the challenge coins.
The University of Phoenix, which has come under fire from the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Federal Trade Commission for its military recruiting tactics, currently has more than 200,000 enrolled civilian and military students.
According to The Washington Post, the Defense Department’s tuition program helped more than 10,000 service members pay for their University of Phoenix education last year.
The University of Phoenix is the largest recipient of federal student aid for veterans, taking in nearly $1.2 billion in GI Bill benefits since 2009. The Defense Department’s decision has no bearing on whether the school can receive GI benefits, which are allocated through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Defense officials said they planned to keep the for-profit university on probation until it completed a review of the school.
For-profit colleges cannot get more than 90 percent of their operating revenue from federal student aid. Interestingly, although G.I. Bill benefits are federal student aid, they don’t count toward the 90 percent limit. “That gives for-profit schools an incentive to target veterans in order to stay below the threshold,” CNN Money said.
The University of Phoenix, like many other for-profit colleges, has struggled in recent years. The Phoenix-headquartered chain of colleges lost more than half its students in the past five years, forcing it to close at least 100 campuses, CNN Money noted. It expects enrollment to decline by about 56,000 students this year.
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