Senator Urges VA to Trademark ‘GI Bill,’ Stop For-Profit Schools from Targeting Veterans With Misleading Ads


(Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus today called on 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 help protect veterans from deceptive marketing by for-profit colleges and universities.


Recent 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 specifically target veterans. Trademarking the phrase ‘GI Bill’ would help bring this to an end by allowing the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that the phrase is only being used to provide impartial and comprehensive information about these benefits.


In a letter today Baucus wrote, “Since 1944 the phrase ‘GI Bill’ has been a symbol of our nation’s obligation to give back to those who serve. Any attempt to mislead veterans into using these hard-earned benefits for substandard or overpriced programs should not be tolerated. As such, we ask that you trademark the phrase ‘GI Bill’ to help ensure that our veterans are not unfairly targeted.”


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