New Rules Promise Better Tuition-plan Oversight

The Pentagon is ramping up oversight of the $517 million program that provides tuition assistance money for the active-duty force amid mounting concerns that it is ripe for waste and abuse.

The new rules — which will oversee online-only programs for the first time — aim to address reports that for-profit schools are targeting troops with aggressive recruiting tactics.

A new Web-based complaint form will allow troops to report, and the Pentagon to track, alleged problems with specific schools that receive tuition assistance money.

And a top official is promising a crackdown on school recruiters who harass troops, charge excessive fees or fail to provide sufficient support for their students.

“Some institutions are very aggressive in marketing,” said Robert Gordon, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, at a recent Senate hearing about the military’s tuition program.

“What we can do and will do better is to help to educate our post and base commanders about some of these practices, and some of the protocols and procedures they can use to both monitor when these actions take place and take action,” Gordon said at the March 2 hearing.

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