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Marketing Education to the Military

For Profit schools have been receiving a ton of heat since 2010 since the Department of Education started investigating marketing overly aggressive marketing practices.

More recently for-profit schools have been under attack for aggressive marketing practices towards the military audience.

Three Democratic senators, from Hawaii, Alaska and Washington introduce the GI Bill Watchdog bill which is formally called the GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act of 2012 or S.2241. The full text of the act can be found here.

The core mission of the act is to make sure current military members and veterans have more transparent information when choosing a school.

On Senator Akaka’s website he highlights the following:

  • Information Availability:  The GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act calls for disclosure of, among other data, statistics related to student loan debt, transferability of credits earned, veteran enrollment, program preparation for licensing and certification, and job placement rates.
  • Information Dissemination:  The GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act requires VA to provide educational beneficiaries with easy-to-understand information about schools that are approved for GI Bill benefit use.
  • Staffing and Training:  The GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act requires educational institutions to have at least one employee who is knowledgeable about benefits available to servicemembers and veterans.  This legislation further requires that academic advising, tutoring, career and placement counseling services, and referrals to Vet Centers are available and that institutions offer training to faculty members on matters that are relevant to servicemembers and veterans.
  • Curbing Misleading Marketing and Aggressive Recruiting:  The GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act requires VA and the Department of Defense to develop a joint policy on aggressive recruiting and misleading marketing aimed at servicemembers, veterans, and other beneficiaries.
  • Educational Counseling: The GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act makes educational counseling available to more beneficiaries.

What should I do if I am an online school?

There are a few quick things you can do to help your military students.

  • First, focus on providing a quality experience – everything boils down to the quality of the education and true understanding of the military audience. Making sure you have dedicated veterans on the phones talking to prospective students is critical. No civilian will ever truly understand what a military member has been through
  • Don’t bombard them with emails and calls. Respecting the military member and giving them a reason to call you back is the best way to get a qualified student in.
  • Make a dedicated section on your website for military members that provides tuition info, debt, other current military students etc. Using graphics to show that you are SOC listed, Yellow Ribbon certified or listed on the WEAMS database are also helpful to military students.
  • Stick to the basic education marketing council guidelines. The info is valid for the military audience also.