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ERIC Number: EJ797169
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May-16
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
The New GI Bill: It's a Win-Win Proposition
Wright, James
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n36 pA34 May 2008
The idea of providing returning veterans with benefits as both a reward for their service and as a means of enabling them to reintegrate into civilian life dates to the early history of the United States. Revolutionary War soldiers received military pensions, land grants, and other forms of care, depending on their service and its location. After the Civil War, Union soldiers (but not, until much later, their Confederate counterparts) received pensions. In anticipation of the large numbers of returning American troops from World War I, the government developed a comprehensive package of veterans benefits that included disability payments, pensions, rehabilitation, and vocational training. Formally known as the Serviceman's Readjustment Act, the GI Bill provided tuition, room, and board, as well incidental expenses for books, to any veteran who attended a four-year college or university, a two-year college, or a trade school. The bill, which applied to both women and men and provided benefits regardless of race, was initially opposed by some of the leading educators of the day, who worried that the bill would open up their institutions to unqualified applicants. Yet despite the overwhelming historical success of educational benefits for veterans, such support for those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan has, unfortunately, proved to be an unnecessarily complicated matter. Remarkably, Congress allowed the legislation for the new GI Bill to sit for a year with no action on it. The three major arguments of those opposed: (1) the expense of adding another entitlement program; (2) Pentagon concerns that re-enlistments might suffer if too many people left the military to pursue higher education; and (3) reservations by some in Congress about providing federal tuition dollars to wealthy institutions. In this article, the author contends that the young people serving their country in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve a GI Bill as good as the one waiting for their grandfathers after World War II.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A