Durbin, Blumenthal, Brown, Carper Urge Va To Cut Off Computer Systems Institute From Gi Bill
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Tom Carper (D-DE) urged the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to protect student veterans and taxpayers by withdrawing Computer Systems Institute (CSI) from participation in the GI Bill program. In a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, the senators questioned why the VA has been slow to take action against the for-profit college despite clear evidence from the Department of Education (ED) that CSI “submitted false job placement data to its accreditor…and disclosed false job placement data to current and prospective students.” ED terminated CSI’s participation in the federal Title IV program in January.
“[T]he Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has allowed CSI to continue to participate in the GI Bill program despite a clear provision in law requiring disapproval of any institution which engages in misleading practices…Why, nearly eight months after the Department of Education found that CSI engaged in practices prohibited under [this provision], has the Department of Veterans Affairs not used its authority to remove this company from the GI Bill program?” asked the senators.
In February, Senator Durbin called on the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs to review the Department of Education’s findings about CSI and take steps to protect the state’s student veterans.
Computer Systems Institute operates campuses in Chicago, Skokie, and Lombard. Last week, the Education Department announced, pending appeal, that it would termin?ate recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), which accredited CSI as well as the now-defunct Corinthian, ITT Tech, and Westwood Colleges.
Full text of the letter is available here and below:
September 29, 2016
The Honorable Robert A. McDonald
Department of Veterans Affairs
801 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Dear Secretary McDonald:
We write today to ask you to take immediate action to protect veterans from Computer Systems Institute (CSI), which the Department of Education (ED) found “submitted false job placement data to its accreditor to maintain the accreditation of its schools, and disclosed false job placement data to current and prospective students.”
As a result of its findings, the Department of Education ended CSI’s participation in the federal Title IV program effective January 31. In addition, CSI’s accreditor issued a decision in May, which is pending appeal, that the school’s accreditation should be withdrawn.
Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has allowed CSI to continue to participate in the GI Bill program despite a clear provision in law requiring disapproval of any institution which engages in misleading practices. Specifically, 38 U.S.C. § 3696 states:
“The Secretary shall not approve the enrollment of an eligible veteran or eligible person in any course offered by an institution which utilizes advertising, sales, or enrollment practices of any type which are erroneous, deceptive, or misleading either by actual statement, omission, or intimation.”
The Department of Education provided multiple examples of CSI’s misleading practices in its January 29, 2016 letter of denial to the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Julia Lowder. Why, nearly eight months after ED found that CSI engaged in practices prohibited under 38 U.S.C § 3696, has VA not used its authority to remove this company from the GI Bill program?
We look forward to your prompt response.
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