Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
April 27, 2012  
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Praises President Obama for Protecting Veterans from Deceptive Marketing Practices  

Senator Boxer and 13 Colleagues Had Called for Trademark Protection of ‘GI Bill’ To Stop For-Profit Schools from Targeting Veterans With Misleading Ads

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), co-chair of the Senate Military Family Caucus, today praised President Obama for directing the Department of Veterans Affairs to trademark the phrase “GI Bill” to crack down on deceptive websites and advertisements by for-profit colleges and universities that target veterans seeking to use their GI Bill education benefits.  

Last month, Senator Boxer and 13 colleagues sent a letter urging Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to file a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the phrase “GI Bill” to put an end to these abuses.

Senator Boxer said, “The President’s action will help protect the brave men and women who served our country from deceptive advertising and misleading marketing schemes. By ending these predatory practices, we will ensure that veterans get the impartial and comprehensive information they need to make the best choices for their future.”

Investigations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) found that many for-profit colleges and universities use predatory recruiting practices and false advertising to encourage prospective students to enroll, despite having low student success rates and high costs. Many of these ads and websites target veterans, leading to complaints from veterans’ groups.  

Recent news stories have highlighted the deceptive campaigns by for-profit schools to target veterans – including setting up sham “student veteran groups” with no actual student members to entice more veterans to enroll. This week, the nationwide group, Student Veterans of America, revoked chapter memberships at 26 for-profit institutions after determining that the schools had set up fake chapters to try to appear “veteran-friendly” in their marketing and recruiting campaigns.  

To see a copy of the Senators’ letter to Secretary Shinseki, click here. The letter was signed by Senators Boxer, Tom Harkin (D-IA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Al Franken (D-MN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Max Baucus (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Mark Begich (D-AK) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).