Durbin Defends Defense Department Action Against University of Phoenix

In speech on Senate floor, Durbin says Department has a duty to “promote the integrity of the program through aggressive oversight and enforcement”

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – In a speech on the floor of the Senate, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today encouraged the Defense Department to remain steadfast in its protection of students and taxpayers when it comes to future decisions related to the University of Phoenix’s participation in the Department’s voluntary military education programs – Tuition Assistance for servicemembers and MyCAA for their spouses.  Earlier this month, after an investigation into an article by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Defense Department placed the University of Phoenix on probation and prohibited the company from enrolling new servicemembers using the voluntary military education programs.


The Defense Department’s actions have received criticism from the Wall Street Journal editorial board and a group of Republican Senators who sent a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter asking him to reconsider his decision.  


Durbin responded to their arguments in a letter to the editor in today’s edition of the Wall Street Journal and in his speech today on the Senate floor which can be viewed on his YouTube page.


“There is no question that the Department of Defense has a duty and a responsibility to take appropriate action against those who violate rules and regulations related to voluntary military education programs – and the suggestion otherwise is astonishing to me,” said Durbin.  “The broad and ongoing regulatory scrutiny of the University of Phoenix gives the Defense Department legitimate cause for concern.  As Paul Rieckhoff of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) put it, the University of Phoenix ‘is constantly reported as the single worst by far’ when it comes to for-profit colleges taking advantage of IAVA members.  In order to provide quality educational options for service members and to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not being wasted, we must promote the integrity of the program through aggressive oversight and enforcement.”


Footage of Durbin and Madigan’s remarks at today’s hearing is available for TV Stations using FTP in high definition here and in standard definition here.