While the original GI Bill played a central role in making higher education a mass experience in the United States, the new version is small by comparison. That said, it is clearly bringing more folks to campus and appears very popular. From CSMonitor.com
The benefits, which took effect in August 2009, vastly improve educational opportunities for American veterans who have served at least 30 days after Sept. 11, 2001.
It fully covers tuition at state-run schools of higher education, and provides stipends for books and living expenses based on the military’s housing allowance. Matching federal dollars are available for attending private colleges that also give veterans financial aid.
This week, an independent study by the American Council on Education shows that participants in the program, which is run by the VA, are largely pleased with the benefits. So pleased, that last year, more than 300,000 people took advantage of the program to enroll in higher education.
Later in the piece:
The 1944 GI Bill was meant to integrate roughly 15 million soldiers into civilian life after World War II. The pool eligible for the new GI Bill is much smaller, roughly 2 million people who have served since 9/11.
The new benefits still have integration value for individuals. And they benefit society by further educating Americans. But the post-9/11 GI Bill was also designed to support the all-volunteer military of the post-Vietnam era by providing a strong incentive to sign up – and stay in.
Members of the military who have served at least six years in active duty, and agree to serve an additional four, can transfer their education benefits to a spouse. Serve 10 years, and the benefits can go to children.
I’d love to see the ACE study and find out what these Vets are studying and where. Wonder how many entrepreneurs we have in the GI Bill population?