Oregon Attorney General John Kroger today announced a multistate
settlement with QuinStreet, Inc. over allegations that the
California-based company unlawfully targeted military service members
through some websites that misleadingly appeared to be operated, owned
or endorsed by the U.S. government or U.S. military.
"This office will not tolerate companies that mislead the brave
military service members who fight for our country," said Keith
Dubanevich, Associate Attorney General.
QuinStreet owns an expansive network of websites that generate leads
primarily for the for-profit education industry. The multistate
enforcement action arose in conjunction with a larger ongoing effort by
state attorneys general looking into the recruiting and deceptive
business practices of some for profit colleges.
Oregon served on the executive committee for the investigation into
several of Quistreet's educational websites that appeared specifically
designed to market products and services for military service members.
The investigation determined that the sites misleadingly gave the
impression that the schools immediately listed as "eligible GI Bill
schools" were the only schools at which the veterans' benefits could be
Consumer advocates and state Attorneys General have seen for-profit
colleges intensify their recruitment of veterans since 2008, when
Congress enacted the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which made billions of dollars
in educational benefits available for veterans and their families.
According to a February 2011 General Accounting Office report, $9
billion in educational benefits were provided to service members and
veterans in Fiscal Year 2010.
Of 20 for-profit colleges analyzed by the U.S. Senate HELP Committee,
total military educational benefits increased from $66.6 million in
2006 to a projected $521.2 million in 2010. Part of the reason why
military members are attractive to for-profit colleges is because their
benefits don't count toward the business' 90 percent cap on federal
Department of Education funding.
As part of the settlement filed today QuinStreet will relinquish
ownership and control of the domain GIBill.com to the Department of
Veterans Affairs, which will use it to promote the GI Bill program and
educate service members about the benefits available to them under the
In the future, the company must clearly disclose that its sites are
not associated with the U.S. government and unequivocally state that
companies appearing on certain websites are not the only schools that
accept GI Bill benefits. The company will also pay $2.5 million to the
settling states, including $225,000 for Oregon.
Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice.
The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the
environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate,
and defend the rights of all Oregonians.