International higher education groups are pushing for changes to a new veterans education law, the PROSPER Act, which they say could deter colleges from using commissioned agents to recruit international students for fear of losing access to the benefits of the GI Bill.
As NAFSA: Association of International Educators explained in analysis released last week, the law, signed in June, “asks state agencies that approve study programs for the purposes of the GI Bill to take action that may include not approving new study programs of a school or disapprove previously approved study programs “if the agencies determine that the institution, or an entity with which it contracts, is engaging in recruiting incentive students.
The Higher Education Act also includes a ban on incentive pay in the recruitment of students, but it includes an exception for the recruitment of students from abroad. The use of commissioned agents in international recruitment is still a controversial but growing practice. A recent joint investigation by the American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) and the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) found that 49% of 294 institutions surveyed partner with agents to recruit international undergraduate students.
The AIRC, which represents colleges and recruiting agencies, encourages its members to advocate for a technical amendment to align the language of the THRIVE Act with that of the Higher Education Act. Brian Whalen, executive director of AIRC, said that while the consequences of the law on international recruiting may have been unintended, “we need to work aggressively to ensure that there is a technical correction to this law. and we hope that will happen in the next few months. . “
Jill Allen Murray, deputy executive director of public policy for NAFSA, said it remains unclear how the Department of Veterans Affairs will implement the policy. “We would appreciate if the VA offered more flexibility to institutions given the widespread implications of this policy,” she said. “We hope that Congress will remedy the situation soon and continue to work in coalition with higher education associations and with the Hill to encourage them to do so.”
Spokesmen for the House Veterans Committee and Senate Veterans Committee Chairman U.S. Senator Jon Tester of Montana did not respond to email requests for comment on Friday.