Dodge City Community College (DCCC) and a private helicopter flight instructor training company have agreed to pay a combined $7.5 million to settle a lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs after it was found that Post-9/11 GI Bill program rules were broken, WIBW reported.
Universal Helicopters Inc. (UHI) and DCCC agreed to settle allegations of violations of the False Claims Act, allegations that from 2013-2018 they made or caused false statements to the VA about their jointly run helicopter flight instructor training program to get VA funding.
“One of the ways the U.S. government demonstrates gratitude to our veterans is by creating programs intended to create easier paths to accessing higher education,” said U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard for the District of Kansas. “It’s disheartening that any institution of higher learning would submit inaccurate information in order to improperly receive funds designed to benefit those who serve our nation.”
UHI will pay $7 million. DCCC will pay $500,000.
“The alleged violations occurred prior to the current college administration and current helicopter provider. DC3 severed all ties to UHI between late 2018 and early 2019. In addition, all DC3 employees who were affiliated with the program during the time the alleged violations occurred are no longer employed by the college,” DCCC said in a statement. “Since the establishment of the partnership with Quantum Helicopters and the implementation of the recommended changes from the VA, the DC3 helicopter program has steadily improved since 2019, and it now has approximately 70 students enrolled.”