- The Washington Times - Friday, October 9, 2015

The Pentagon on Thursday placed the University of Phoenix on probation, barring the for-profit school from recruiting on military bases and preventing troops from using federal money to pay tuition. 

The ban comes as the school is already under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and California Attorney General Kamala Harris for its questionable recruitment of members of the U.S. military and the California National Guard. 

The move also follows a letter sent in June by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to Defense Secretary Ash Carter requesting an investigation into the school’s recruiting efforts. 

The university giant is a major educational provider to active duty troops, reservists and National Guardsmen.

The Pentagon’s ban does not apply to educational benefits through the GI Bill, which is a separate program for military veterans. Military members who are enrolled in the university’s courses can continue to receive tuition assistance, but new enrollees and transfers will not be allowed. 

“The institution will not be authorized access to DoD installations for the purposes of participating in any recruitment-type activities,” said Dawn Bilodeau, chief of the Defense Department’s Voluntary Education program, The Wall Street Journal reported. “Further, no new or transfer students at the institution will be permitted to receive DoD tuition assistance.”

Last year, California briefly banned one of the university’s campuses from enrolling veterans in its program, alleging the school had enrolled too high a percentage of students receiving federal funding. The ban was lifted after the school was deemed to be in compliance. 

“The University intends to continue its cooperation with federal and state agencies to respond to their requests,” said University of Phoenix President Tim Slottow in a statement late Thursday. “University representatives have been working closely with DoD leaders and we all expected a different response from DoD.”

He said the university will fight the decision, but will comply with the order. “At this time, the university will not accept new students who wish to use tuition assistance program funds,” Mr. Slottow said.

According to the SEC filing, the Defense Department enacted the ban after it found fault with Apollo Education Group Inc. — the parent company of the University of Phoenix — over its sponsorship of recruiting events on military bases without proper approval. The department also based its decision on the FTC’s current investigation. 

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