New Scholarship Helps Student-Veterans Who Say For-Profit Colleges Victimized Them

A nonprofit foundation has established a scholarship program with an unusually narrow purpose: helping student-veterans who say they were defrauded or misled by for-profit colleges.

The Veterans’ Student Loan Relief Fund, a project of the Kisco Foundation, is currently accepting applications for its second round of awards. The fund provides grants of up to $5,000 to student-veterans who used their military educational benefits to attend a for-profit college and are now experiencing financial hardship as a result.

The Kisco Foundation is a philanthropic endeavor of Jerome Kohlberg Jr., a retired Wall Street businessman and billionaire who attended college on the original GI Bill after returning from military service in World War II.

In order to qualify for the scholarship, a student-veteran must owe student-loan debt, have exhausted all of his or her military educational benefits, and have been misled or defrauded by a for-profit college, according to Matthew C. Boulay who directs the program.

Mr. Boulay says the fund, which is administered through Scholarship America, is intended to provide relief to veterans “who are otherwise financially responsible but have found themselves over the last few years spending their GI Bill benefits on a college education that ended up being both worthless and causing a lot of debt.”

Having been “defrauded or misled” by a for-profit college is a requirement for receiving a grant, Mr. Boulay says, but he concedes that proving fraud or deception is not always clear-cut. The program relies on an applicant’s personal essay as well as supporting financial documents to make its decisions, he says. The recipients’ experiences at for-profit colleges do not necessarily rise to the legal standard of fraud (though Mr. Boulay has referred several veterans to a lawyer), but all were somehow misled, he says. <Read more.>

Via Michael Stratford, The Chronicle of Higher Ed.