Apparently the next stage of Iowa Senator Tom Harkin’s inquiry into for-profit colleges will be about military money. Some 40 percent of the federal tuition money for active-duty military personnel pays for for-profit online colleges.

According to an Associated Press article in the Idaho Statesman:

For-profit college companies are taking in enormous amounts of federal student aid money by recruiting and enrolling military service members, veterans and their families, with questionable returns, according to a new report from…. Sen. Tom Harkin.

Between 2006 and 2010, combined Defense Department and Veterans Affairs education benefits received by 20 for-profit education companies increased from $66.6 million to a projected $521.2 million, an increase of 683 percent, the report says.

According to another piece in the New York Times, Harkin said that,

“For-profit schools see our active-duty military and veterans as a cash cow. It is both a rip off of the taxpayer and a slap in the face to the people who have risked their lives for our country.”

Some 53 percent of for-profit-college students complete their studies with more than $30,500 worth of education debt, though debt numbers do not appear to be available specifically for military personal. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer