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American Public Education Official to Testify at Hearing

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Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Russell Kitchner, a lobbyist at American Public Education Inc., will testify at a Sept. 22 U.S. Senate hearing on the educational quality of programs for active-duty military members and veterans.

Senator Thomas Carper, chairman of the subcommittee on federal financial management, will hold the hearing, according to a statement from his office. The for-profit college, which operates American Military University, got 61 percent of its revenue in the year ended September 2010 from U.S. military and veterans’ programs, said Jarrel Price, an analyst at Height Analytics in Washington.

Congress and government attorneys are investigating the recruitment practices and excessive student debt at for-profit colleges. A March study this year by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Congress’s investigative arm, found that programs that pay tuition for veterans and military members lack systems for reviewing courses and tracking complaints.

“Reports have described troubling stories of how some schools have exploited our student veterans and military personnel,” Carper, a Democrat from Delaware, said in the statement. “We have a moral imperative and a financial imperative to ensure that the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Education are doing everything they can to prevent these kinds of abuses.”

Hearing Schedule

Senator Jim Webb, a Virginia Democrat and Vietnam War veteran who has probed military spending on education, will also testify at the hearing, according to the statement. Others scheduled to appear are Curtis Coy, deputy undersecretary for economic opportunity at Veterans Affairs; Keith Wilson, director of the department’s education service; Ted Daywalt, president of VetJobs, an employment clearinghouse for veterans; and Ryan Gallucci, deputy director of the U.S. Veterans of Foreign Wars’ National Legislative Service.

American Public Education, based in Charles Town, West Virginia, fell 86 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $38.52 at 4 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares have gained 3.4 percent this year.

Carper’s office earlier today said American Public Education’s Chief Executive Officer Wallace Boston would testify at the hearing. The senator’s office later said Kitchner would attend instead. Kitchner is vice president for regulatory and government regulations at the company’s American Public University System. A call to the company wasn’t immediately returned.

To contact the reporters on this story: John Lauerman in Boston at jlauerman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Kaufman at jkaufman17@bloomberg.net

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