The Swarm

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June 27, 2012
G.I. Bill abuses show why California vets want service to count
As the California Legislature dawdles on bills to help veterans get credit for training they received while in the military, lawmakers should take note of an interesting settlement today.

As I wrote in May, one of the arguments for the measures to require colleges and licensing boards to count relevant training and experience is to protect veterans from for-profit schools preying on them for their G.I. Bill benefits.

In the settlement announced today, QuinStreet Inc., an Internet marketing company based in Foster City, agreed to turn over its website, www.GIBill.com, to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The company also will pay $2.5 million to 20 states whose attorneys general alleged that the website misled veterans by only listing schools that were QuinStreet clients as places where they could use their educational benefits.

California isn't one of the 20 states sharing in the settlement, but veterans here are also heavily recruited by for-profit schools seeking G.I. Bill money. Those benefits have been increased for those who served in the military since 9/11.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who is co-chairwoman of the Senate's Military family Caucus, praised the settlement and also plugged a bill she introduced earlier this month that would prohibit the deceptive use of the phrase "G.I. Bill" and would give it the same protection that Congress has given to "Medicare" and Social Security."

"For too long, our nation's veterans have been the targets of these misleading ads and marketing schemes," Boxer said in a statement. "The settlement announced today by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway is the first step toward cracking down on these predatory practices. I will continue my push for legislation to permanently protect the phrase 'GI Bill' in law so that we can end these abuses once and for all."

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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