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University of Phoenix on probation after violating Department of Defense policy

PHOENIX — The University of Phoenix has been placed on probation after allegedly committing several violations of a Department of Defense policy, according to PBS.org.

The department claimed the for-profit school misused trademarked military insignia and failed to get proper permission to seek access to military bases, according to the article.

As part of the GI Bill, the article said thousands of active and veteran military members attend University of Phoenix, which has been criticized in the past for its “deceptive marketing practices.” To combat these practices, President Obama signed an executive order in 2012 that would ban for-profit colleges from targeting military veterans.

Dawn Bilodeau, the Chief of Defense Department’s Voluntary Education program, addressed the order in a letter to the university on Sept. 30, saying the University improperly used a military insignia on a recruitment coin. The coin allegedly had insignias for military branches on one side and the University of Phoenix logo on the other.

The probation prohibits University employees from visiting military bases for recruitment purposes and new soldiers cannot enroll in the school if they receive tuition assistance. More than 9,000 service members attended the University of Phoenix last year through the DoD Tuition Assistance program, according to the article.

Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Paul Riechkoff said the probation is “huge” and will cause huge losses to the University.

“They stalk and recruit on bases,” he said in an interview with PBS. “This (announcement) cuts off their flow of troops to exploit.”

University of Phoenix President Tim Slottow said a statement published on PBS.org that the University “will continue to hold (officials) to the highest standards of accountability, transparency, ethics and compliance.”

This is not the University’s first run in with the law: The University of Phoenix is currently under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for engaging in “deceptive or unfair” marketing practices, according to the article.

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