By: Rosemary Freitas Williams, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy
Education can open so many opportunities for our service members and their families, and more colleges and universities are offering programs that accommodate the mobile military lifestyle. Unfortunately, some institutions have used unnecessarily aggressive recruiting practices and may have misled our service members and families about the quality of their education or post-graduation employment opportunities.
Fortunately, our veterans, service members or family members who are pursuing degrees through eligible federal education benefit programs can now provide feedback about any educational institution with which they may have experienced problems through the online Post-Secondary Education Complaint System. This system is an important new tool that offers an objective process for submitting complaints that was not available before to the military community.
Depending on your program, you can take action according to the following:
- If you receive military tuition assistance or participate in the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) Scholarship, you can provide your feedback through the Defense Department.
- Students using the Montgomery or Post-9/11 G.I. Bill can lodge a complaint through the Veterans Affairs Department.
- Students receiving tuition assistance from Pell Grants or federal loans can contact the Education Department.
- All other students can provide feedback about participating education institutions through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Regardless of whom you contact, all complaints go to a central database where they are reviewed and screened by the appropriate federal agency, military service and/or the Office of the Secretary of Defense. When warranted, complaints will also be referred to the Federal Trade Commission or the Justice Department for review and appropriate action.
Getting an education can be a life-changing experience. However, if you have difficulties with an education institution while you are pursuing a degree, that experience can grow unnecessarily complicated. Take advantage of the military student online complaint system if you need it – it’s there to protect you and your future.