Earlier this month, the Department of Defense (DoD) temporarily banned the University of Phoenix from recruiting on military installations and from new students being able to use it. The DoD ban was established due to allegations of deceptive recruiting practices and violations of established regulations on the part of the UOP, and ongoing investigations by the Federal Trade Commission by the California attorney general.
The DoD established the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in order to ensure that service members were not being aggressively recruited by post-secondary institutions, and to ensure schools established process and procedures that focused on student academic services leading to greater retention and graduation rates in service members and veterans. When the MOU was established, if schools opted not to agree to the requirements of the MOU and not sign it, they would not be allowed to receive Military Tuition Assistance funding. In 2013, an updated version of the DoD MOU was published requiring schools to additionally agree to support Executive Order 13607 Establishing Principles of Excellence.
In enacting EO 13607, the intent was to link the DoD, the Department of Ed, and the Department of Veterans Affairs with regard to educating service members, veterans, and dependents, by establishing policies and procedures that would ensure best practices were being followed by all institutions serving this particular student population. As part of the updated version of the DoD MOU was the establishment of a DoD Complaint System where a service member, veteran, or dependent could lodge a formal complaint against their school for infractions of the MOU.
Three U.S Senators wrote a letter to the DoD, claiming that their actions to ban UOP are unfounded and based on a political ideology that is negatively biased towards certain post-secondary institutions. In their four-page letter to the Pentagon, Senators McCain, Flake, Alexander of Tennessee stated the decision to ban UOP was unfair and that an additional review is required. The letter to the Pentagon also included a series of questions asking, who was involved in the decision to implement the sanction and who in Congress was involved in making the decision. The letter also questioned what other schools have had similar sanctions placed on them. It also raised concerns that some non-profit schools had committed similar infractions without sanctioning.
Certainly, a review should be conducted, however, the ban should remain in effect until the review is completed. If the intent of the DoD MOU, EO 13607 Establishing Principles of Excellence is to establish standards of behavior for institutions in order to protect service members, veterans, and dependents, then when infractions are found, and found to be numerous and substantive, institutions should be banned or suspended from receiving MTA funds.
Since any institution, for-profit or nonprofit, must agree to and sign the DoD MOU if they wish to receive MTA funds for the tuition of service members, the rules and penalties must apply equally. If other nonprofit institutions have committed similar infractions, then they too should be banned.