New System Launched to Gather Complaints From Military Veterans, Servicemembers Regarding Higher Education Institutions

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–January 30, 2014. The Federal Trade Commission, in partnership with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and several other federal agencies, announced a new complaint process to gather input from veterans, servicemembers, and their families pursuing higher education through Post 9/11 GI Bill and other military education benefits.

The FTC, Defense Department and VA have created customized online reporting forms in collaboration with the Department of Justice and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that veterans and servicemembers can use to file consumer complaints about education institutions. Students can file complaints with the VA and DOD directly about the cost of attendance, marketing, graduation rates, program quality, employment prospects, and course credit. The Department of Education will take email complaints on these topics.

Complaints will be forwarded from the VA, DoD, and DoE to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network database beginning next month. Sentinel is accessible to over 2,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide. These complaints will help the government identify and address fraudulent and deceptive practices targeted toward servicemembers, veterans and dependents who use military education benefits.

“Veterans should get truthful information when they choose how and where to use their military education benefits. Unfortunately, that may not always be the case,” said Jessica Rich, director, FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC is pleased to be part of this effort to streamline the complaint process for veterans and facilitate investigations.”

The FTC recently announced new tips to help servicemembers, veterans, and their families choose a higher education institution that complements their education goals. The guidance and new student complaint process are part of the Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2012. This act requires the FTC and other agencies to partner with the VA to improve outreach and transparency regarding the quality of instruction, recruiting practices, and post-graduate employment by institutes of higher learning.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.