Order aims to protect troops from predatory school recruiters

An executive order signed by President Obama on Friday seeks to protect troops and veterans from “aggressive and deceptive” academic recruiters.

The order cites examples of institutions targeting veterans with serious brain injuries and emotional vulnerabilities without providing academic support and counseling. Vets have been encouraged to take out costly loans instead of federal student loans by -- sometimes for-profit -- institutions that fail to disclose their own, often lacking, merits.

Speaking to troops at Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Ga., Obama said the order “will make life a whole lot more secure for you and your families and our veterans -- and a whole lot tougher for those who try to prey on you.”

The initiative requires colleges that recruit military service members, veterans and their families to provide clear information about their qualifications as academic institutions and their financial aid offerings. “You’ll be able to get a simple fact sheet called ‘Know Before You Owe,’” Obama said.

Obama also said the initiative will require schools to offer more counseling and to accommodate active-duty students who have to move because of a deployment or reassignment.

It also requires the Defense Department to set stricter rules on how educational institutions can gain access to military installations to keep away recruiters from unqualified and deceptive schools.

“We’re going to bring an end to the aggressive -- and sometimes dishonest -- recruiting that takes place,” Obama said.

New rules will also apply to online recruiting practices and establish a complaint system for current students or recruitment targets. “Currently, when military and veteran students feel that their school has acted fraudulently, they have no centralized system to file complaints,” a White House announcement said.

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