You are currently viewing Ensuring Diverse Representation for Student Veterans: A Plea to Secretary Cardona

Ensuring Diverse Representation for Student Veterans: A Plea to Secretary Cardona

We sent a letter to Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, expressing our concerns regarding the selection process for negotiated rule-making committees within the Department of Education. This process holds significant implications for all Student Veterans, so we want these committees to include representation from a diverse range of Veteran organizations, reflecting a myriad of interests, opinions, and perspectives.

At VEP, we consistently participate in public comment periods during relevant negotiated rule-making hearings. However, we have become increasingly troubled by the lack of diverse voices and perspectives representing the interests of Student Veterans on these committees. Our concerns are further compounded by the repeated selection of a single individual to serve in this position.

A letter dated February 23rd from National Defense Committee (NDC) Executive Director, Bob Carey, sheds light on this issue. It reveals how Secretary Cardona’s staff has consistently turned to one organization, Veterans Education Success (VES), to represent all Veterans on no less than 4 of the latest negotiated rule-making committees. This reliance on VES raises questions, particularly given allegations of bias and unethical behavior, as documented in a 2022 Department of Veteran’s Affairs Office of Inspector General report referenced in the NDC letter.

Student Veterans deserve to have trust and confidence in the processes that affect their hard-earned educational benefits. Those selected to represent their interests must be diverse and reflective of the broader Veteran community. There are numerous individual Veterans, groups, and organizations willing and able to advocate for their fellow Veterans on these committees. The repeated selection of the same individual undermines confidence in the integrity of the negotiated rule-making process and its outcomes. We aim to ensure fairness, transparency, and integrity in the processes that impact the educational journey of our Student Veterans.

Read our letter to Secretary Cardona.

Leave a Reply