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Schools cooperating with new order, VA says


NavyTimes - June 5, 2012 - by Cid Standifer

The Veterans Affairs Department has sent letters to dozens of schools explaining how it plans to administer President Obama’s recent executive order asking colleges to adhere to “principles of excellence” when it comes to recruiting and enrolling veterans.

Officials say that so far, colleges have been overwhelmingly positive about the new policies.

In April, Obama called on VA to draft the principles of excellence, which would require schools to disclose cost and quality information to prospective military students, eschew “deceptive recruiting practices” and “provide high-quality academic and student support services.” The order asks VA to publicize a list of schools that agree to follow the principles.

Curtis Coy, VA’s deputy undersecretary for economic opportunity, told Military Times on Tuesday that the administration sent an implementation letter to 64 schools on May 31. Of those, 61 agreed to follow the principles, while the remaining three had questions.

Meanwhile, VA has set up webinars about the executive order for school officials on Thursday and Friday, each of which can host 1,000 participants. Coy said the number of people signed up for Thursday’s webinar is already at maximum capacity.

On a related issue, VA has also begun the process of trademarking the term “GI Bill,” which Obama’s executive order demanded to prevent schools from using the term on their websites to mislead veterans.

Coy said VA has not yet decided how to deal with nonprofit veterans organizations that want to use the term on independently run informational websites.

“The short answer is, we’re working on all of those things,” Coy said.

The executive order “was only issued a few weeks ago,” he said. “We’ve got groups working on implementing all aspects of the president’s executive order, and he has a report that we’re required to provide within 90 days, so we’re hustling to meet those deadlines.”