BOSTON, MA -- Today, U.S. Senate candidate and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren praised President Obama's Executive Order to protect veterans, servicemembers, and their families from unfair, deceptive, and exploitative practices by educational institutions.
"It is just plain wrong that some for-profit colleges and other educational institutions try to deceive veterans, servicemembers, and their families in order to make a quick buck," said Warren. "President Obama's actions are critically important to protecting and supporting those who have sacrificed for our country."
In recent years, some for-profit colleges and other institutions have specifically targeted veterans with exploitative practices, including pursuing veterans with brain injuries; encouraging veterans to take out expensive private loans instead of seeking out Federal aid; and providing little information about graduation and workforce entry rates.
President Obama's Executive Order requires that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Know Before You Owe financial aid form, created in conjunction with the Department of Education, be made available at almost 2,000 schools to students who participate in the Defense Department's Tuition Assistance Program. It also encourages around 6,000 schools participating in the GI Bill to use the financial aid form. The form explains in clear, simple language how much it will cost to attend a particular school, what loan and work study options the student would have, how much the student will owe after graduation – including estimated monthly payments – and how the school compares to others in costs, retention rates, graduation rates, and student loan default rates. Students who are armed with this information can better protect themselves financially.
Warren's idea for a new consumer watchdog agency in Washington – and her determination in leading the fight to make it real – led to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the summer of 2010. As an advisor to President Obama from 2010 to 2011, Warren made protecting servicemembers a top priority for the new agency. In that role, she recruited Holly Petraeus, wife of General David Petraeus (ret.), and worked hard with her to launch the Office of Servicemember Affairs.
"All three of my brothers are vets, and our family's commitment to veterans runs deep. Unfortunately, some lenders deliberately target veterans, active-duty military, and military families, hoping to trap them in some of the worst deals around," said Warren, one of the nation's experts on bankruptcy and consumer credit. "When I set up the new consumer agency, I made it a first priority to rein in these predators. Under Holly Petraeus's leadership, the new agency is heading in the right direction, giving military families additional resources and information to make decisions about their personal finances."
The new Executive Order will also rein in misleading and fraudulent online marketing; lead to a centralized complaint system for students; improve student access to data about retention and completion rates; keep offenders off military bases; and strengthen enforcement of rules and laws.
Warren recently met with veterans in Charlestown at Bunker Hill Community College, where she discussed financial pressures facing veterans and the challenges of transitioning back to civilian life.