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University Of Phoenix Sidesteps Obama Order On Recruiting Veterans

Hundreds of soldiers and their families spread lawn chairs and blankets across the grassy parade ground at Fort Campbell, which straddles the state line between Tennessee and Kentucky. They’re here to see Big Smo, the reality TV star who calls himself “The King of Hick Hop.”

“Getting out living every day of my life,” the rotund country rapper bellows as he bounds around the stage, wearing a necklace made of beer can tabs. “Southern swag in my blood, so to hell with a wife.” The soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division rise to their feet and cheer.

This is not just any concert. It’s a recruitment event for the University of Phoenix, the proprietary college that is far and away the largest recipient of taxpayer money under the post-9/11 GI Bill. That iconic program launched during World War II now pays college tuition for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

The University of Phoenix paid the military $25,000 to sponsor last October’s concert, according to records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. That sponsorship allowed the institution to sidestep anexecutive order by President Barack Obama intended to prevent for-profit colleges from gaining preferential access to the military, including freely dispatching recruiters to bases.