Veterans Post 9/11 GI Bill Targeted by For-Profit Schools

Iraq war veteran Paul Rieckhoff (right) with Sens. Mark Begich (D-Ala.), Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), introduces the GI benefit watchdog bill in Washington. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP courtesy NPR

Authorities are investigating websites known as “lead generators” that have targeted veterans Post 9/11 GI education benefits.

The “lead generators” – some trying to appear as government websites – get veterans to share their email address and phone number and then sell that information. National Public Radio reports:

Lead generators like Quinstreet sell the information they collect primarily to for-profit colleges and universities. With their generous marketing budgets, for-profit schools can afford to pay for leads to guide them to vets considering enrolling in college.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway is leading a multi-state investigation of for-profit colleges. He’s scrutinizing the sites targeting veterans, trying to ensure they are “engaged in the type of consumer interaction that does not violate our various consumer protection acts in our respective states.”

In other words, he’s trying to assess if the companies are pretending to be government web sites. Some of the sites have disclaimers, but others do not.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has its own Post 9/11 GI Bill website, but does not have the marketing money to promote it like “lead generator” sites. So another tip, look for the .gov to assure it is a VA run site. If the web address ends in a .com – it’s a commercial site and you should be more cautious about sharing your contact information.

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