University of Phoenix (Photo: The Republic)
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs no longer plans to suspend enrollments for new GI Bill students at the University of Phoenix.
The University of Phoenix, a for-profit school based in Phoenix, was one of five colleges that the VA in March said would face such a suspension due to “sufficient evidence” of illegal advertising, sales and enrollment practices.
The VA reversed course on those plans Thursday, saying all of the colleges listed took “adequate corrective actions” to avoid suspensions.
University of Phoenix officials welcomed the news.
“The university has always respected that student veterans have earned the right to choose the institutions that best fit their needs, and this news vindicates that principle,” university officials said in a statement Thursday.
The University of Phoenix’s online campus has nearly 15,000 students who receive GI Bill benefits, which can aid veterans, service members and their families, according to the VA’s website. Its campuses across the country have thousands more, the website shows. There were nearly 600 complaints from students reported to the VA in the past 24 months, the website shows.
The VA’s announcement in March came months after the University of Phoenix agreed to a $191 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in December over claims that students were harmed by deceptive advertising.
In that case, the FTC alleged the University of Phoenix and its parent company, Apollo Education Group, had “used deceptive advertisements that falsely touted their relationships and job opportunities with companies such as AT&T, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Twitter, and The American Red Cross.”
The university did not admit to wrongdoing in the FTC settlement and noted in their statement Thursday that “no findings related to deceptive or misleading advertising or marketing were cited.”
The VA said that the University of Phoenix and the four other colleges originally listed in March have since cooperated with the VA on compliance reviews, provided restitution to affected students and made changes to marketing practices, personnel, university leadership and oversight of communications.
“VA will continue to act in the best interest of our nation’s Servicemembers, Veterans and taxpayers, and we look forward to working with these schools to ensure they fulfill the requirements for GI Bill enrollments,” the department said in the announcement.
Students, alumni and employees who “made their voices heard directly to the VA” throughout this process were to thank for the changes, the statement said.
“These stories formed a powerful narrative about the value and life-changing impact of a University of Phoenix education, and clearly made a difference,” the statement read. “Most importantly, their voices have helped ensure access to higher education for future generations of students.”
The other entities affected include Perdoceo Education Corporation (Colorado Technical University, American InterContinental University), Bellevue University and Temple University.
Contact Grace Oldham at email@example.com or on Twitter at @grace_c_oldham.
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