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Topeka lawyer Harry Colmery built today’s United States with his G.I. Bill

Despite having such a widespread impact on the lives of veterans, the GI Bill remains a mystery to many. Also known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, the GI Bill was penned by a Topeka Lawyer by the name of Harry W. Colmery, who forever changed history. TCF's Suzanne Mettler cites the importance of educational benefits to veterans in her book, "Soldiers to Citizens," which is mentioned in the article in tribue to Colmery.

Colmery’s work with the American Legion gave him firsthand knowledge of how poorly many veterans had fared after World War I. Maimed from war, many had little help in returning to civilian life. The Great Depression only added to their struggles.
In 1932, 20,000 unemployed veterans had marched to Washington, seeking promised compensation for their service that had never materialized. President Herbert Hoover called out federal troops, led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and ran them off.

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Learn more about Suzanne Mettler's book Soldiers to Citizens.

Tags: military, legislation, gi bill, education benefits

Does affirmative action still have a place in college admissions decisions?

TCF's 2012 affirmative action report was cited in a article, which discussed the many arguments around the Fisher v. Texas case. The case, which questions the legality of using affirmative action in admissions decisions, will be heard next month in court, with a decision to be issued by June 2016. 

Statistics show that states that ban affirmative action enroll fewer black and Hispanic freshmen. A 2012 Century Foundation study found that in most states where affirmative action was outlawed, black and Hispanic enrollment at public universities rebounded after an initial drop, going on to exceed the levels before the ban. But the study also showed that in most of those cases, increases didn’t match the growing number of black and Hispanic high school graduates.

Read the full article.

Read the full TCF report: A Better Affirmative Action.

Tags: supreme court, higher education, fisher v. texas, affirmative action

The Latest Threat To Veterans’ Education Benefits: Covert For-Profits

Certain higher education institutions have a history of taking advantage of returned veteran's who are recipients of the G.I. Bil. The latest of these actions comes from cover for-profit colleges, as coined by TCF education fellow Bob Shireman. 

Currently, there is no mechanism in place to restore G.I. Bill funding to veterans whose colleges have been shut down as a result of illegal financial activities. As a result, the VA is currently working to provide veterans with adequate information on all schools that take tuition in the form of the G.I. Bill prior to enrollment, to prevent them from being scammed.

Read the full article featured in Task and Purpose.

Tags: veterans, nonprofit, higher education, covert for-profit

Financial Aid Now Pays for Coding Bootcamps and MOOCs

The rise of MOOCs (massive open online course) has given way to a new style of higher education, one that can be acquired faster than the average 4-year degree and also costs less, raising the overall benefits of such an offering. Some experts are skeptical of these online programs however, especially since the government decided to allow federal financial aid dollars to be applied to pay for these tuitions. TCF's Bob Shireman is one of those who are questioning the advantages of this:

“It is worth re­mem­ber­ing that the for-profit col­lege scan­dal, which is still in the pro­cess of be­ing cleaned up, began as a noble ef­fort to al­low com­pan­ies to gain ac­cess to fed­er­al funds only if they ran in­nov­at­ive train­ing pro­grams that led to good jobs. We must be care­ful that, in open­ing fed­er­al aid to cod­ing boot camps, we do not let that hap­pen again.” Shire­man also noted that open­ing ac­cess to fed­er­al aid could prompt un­scru­pu­lous act­ors simply look­ing to make money to get in­to the field.

Read the full article on MOOCs from National Journal.

Tags: moocs, higher education, financial aid, education reform

NEW REPORT: Covert For-Profit Colleges Leave Students and Taxpayers Vulnerable

October 6, 2015 COMMENTARY BY: The Century Foundation TOPICS: Education, Ensuring Fairness in College Admissions

An investigation of four colleges by TCF senior fellow Robert Shireman reveals that the owners of some for-profit institutions have claimed to be nonprofit to free themselves from the regulatory and public image burdens of operating for profit, while continuing to reap the personal financial benefits of for-profit ownership.


Tough on Colleges, Arne Duncan Bequeaths Record of Advocacy for Students

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Education stepped down from his government position after nearly 7 years. While in office, the secretary actually switched gears, turning to focus more on higher education that his previous passion of K-12 education policy. TCF's Bob Shireman highlights some of Mr. Duncan's accomplishments, saying:

...Mr. Duncan deserves credit for "getting data, getting access to data, and getting people to know about data," said Robert Shireman, a former deputy under secretary of education who is now a senior fellow in higher-education policy at the Century Foundation.

Check out the secretary's legacy in the Chronicle of Higher Ed article.

Tags: student loans, student debt, secretary of education, higher ed reform, arne duncan




Most K-12 education reforms are about trying to make "separate but equal" schools for rich and poor work well. The results of these efforts have been discouraging. The Century Foundation looks at ways to integrate public schools by economic status through public school choice. At the higher education level, we examine ways to open the doors of selective and non-selective institutions to students of modest means.

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