I joined the United States Armed Forces because of the love that I have for my country. I’m proud of my service, and that of my fellow soldiers. One of the valuable lessons I learned while serving is that the military always takes care of its own. As a U.S. Army Reservist, and the spouse of an Active Duty Soldier that is currently deployed, I would like to continue to have a country with limitless promise and possibilities that we risked our lives to protect.
An important component of this promise was the opportunity to further my education, enabling me to build a successful career. The education grants I received through the post 9/11 G.I. Bill allowed me to attend the type of school that worked best for me. Many of my friends in the service as well as the spouses of service members went on to attend for-profit career schools and had great things to say about the opportunities this education afforded them. These schools give students the flexibility to attend classes while working a job, taking care of a family, and not to mention moving from duty station to duty station every couple of years. This flexibility level is a key reason that career colleges rank alongside community colleges as top choices for returning veterans.
I want those men and women currently in uniform and their families, as well my children, to have the same opportunities that I did. I would also like to continue have the choice and flexibility while I am furthering my education. However, a proposed ruling by the Department of Education could put returning veterans’ freedom of choice at risk. Misleadingly titled the “Gainful Employment Rule,” this provision would cut Federal funding from educational institutions whose students failed to meet an arbitrary student loan repayment metric. For-profit career colleges would be severely impacted if this ruling went into effect, forcing many returning veterans and active duty soldiers who would have selected these colleges to forgo further education.
The Dept of Education’s actions are supposedly aimed at targeting student debt. This may be a noble goal, but, as is typical with bureaucratic actions, they are going about it in the wrong way. When it comes to education, options are never a bad thing. Under any circumstances, it would be inadvisable for Federal bureaucrats to limit students’ choices, and in these tough economic times, it would be downright irresponsible.
Our soldiers work every day to ensure that our great nation remains free, prosperous and a land of opportunity. The United States military helped me to better myself by giving me access to a wide range of educational options. Since we no longer go by the motto “An Army of One” my fellow servicemen and women and the people that my husband and I risk our lives to keep free ought to have the same opportunities that I did.
Chevay Hampton is a veteran, and a career college student and future graduate of Keiser University.