Colorado Technical University in Colorado Springs and four other schools will be suspended from enrolling new students under the GI Bill by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 60 days.
The federal agency cited “advertising, sales or enrollment practices that are erroneous, deceptive or misleading” for suspending Colorado Tech, its corporate sibling InterContinental University, Bellevue University, Temple University and University of Phoenix from the GI Bill program unless “corrective action” is taken in 60 days. The program provides student financial aid to veterans.
Colorado Tech had 23,600 students to end 2019 and generated nearly $400 million in revenue, according to the annual report of its parent company, Perdoceo Education Corp., which also owns InterContinental. Colorado Tech had 4,008 students on the GI Bill during the past federal fiscal year, ended Sept. 30, and received nearly $32 million for nearly 3,300 students during the same period. Nearly 200 students filed complaints with VA against Colorado Tech during the past fiscal year.
The VA suspension move comes about a year after Career Education, Perdoceo’s previous name, agreed to erase nearly $500 million in debt incurred by former students as part of a settlement with attorneys general from 48 states and the District of Columbia. That deal resolved allegations that Career Education lied about job placement rates and misled potential students to get them to enroll.
The VA said current students would not be affected by the action as long as they maintain continuous enrollment. But the agency also noted that state agencies responsible for approving programs might choose to take their own actions based on the VA’s decision and that could affect current students. The VA pledged to keep students informed about “any developments that would impact them.”
Perdoceo said in a statement, “We believe that we can demonstrate to the VA that we are in full compliance with their requirements and that necessary corrective action, if any, has already been taken.”
The VA said there are 16,615 GI Bill students at the five campuses, including nearly 3,000 at Colorado Tech.
“Our aim in taking this action is to protect Veterans and their dependents’ GI Bill benefits and comply with the law,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “The department is committed to helping beneficiaries avoid any negative consequences that may result.”
Carrie Wofford, president of the advocacy group Veterans Education Success, said in a statement that the VA’s decision was “more than justified” and sends the message that “the federal government and taxpayers will no longer tolerate schools that seek to defraud veterans and other military-connected students out of their hard-earned federal education benefits.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.