Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bringing Back the GI Bill

My 3rd Yahoo Finance column is up.

Both my grandfathers served in World War II, and both went to school on the GI Bill. One became an accountant and the other a pharmacist.

It's a common experience: about 8 million Americans took advantage of GI Bill benefits between 1944 and 1956. Back then, the military provided full tuition, fees, books, and a stipend to returning soldiers.

Diminishing Returns

The considerable investment paid off in both human and economic terms. It's estimated that for every dollar spent on initial GI Bill benefits, six were returned to the Treasury due to increased earnings by members of the Greatest Generation.

Flash forward 55 years, and our nation is engaged in a conflict that's surpassed the amount of time we fought in the WWII. And according to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a 2004 survey found that "money for college" was the No. 1 reason civilians gave for enlisting to fight in those countries.

But the current Montgomery GI Bill, passed in 1984, far from lives up to its predecessor. Higher costs, stingier benefits, and bureaucracy have put obstacles in the way of young vets attending college. Veterans' advocates are backing a new proposed law that would restore the promise of the GI Bill for all who serve.


The Vermanator said...

Ms. Anya,
I think that article on the GI BILL is an informative article. I recently left the NAvy after 6 years. I opted for the GI BILL/College fund. In addition to that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that anyone that is in the service check out "GI BILL" kicker. It lets you have a 9 to 1 return on your investment. AS far as I know and understand, the GI BILL does keep up wiht inflation every fiscal year. We do have 10 years upon being discharged to utilize our full benefits. I would like to add more in response to your article on a later note, but I have to say it is pretty informative. Thanks for the support, and I am sure service men and women would agree. One thing I would like to add is that the GI BILL is OPTIONAL! It is hammered into us at boot camp to take it, but a small group of people decide to choose a bonus option. Long term, the GI BILL is a great investment.

Anonymous said...


Read your article over at Yahoo and forwarded it out to some people who currently serve. I am sure it will be helpful to them in pursuing their educatonal goals. I look forward to reading your future columns.

Anonymous said...

There needs to be different benefits for active duty and the weekend warriors. This all encompassing solution proposed by some politician would fill our military with reservists, or basically civilians. And if it passes i'll reup in the reserves serve my time and get them to pay for my MBA, all the while keep my cushy 120k salary job. Doesn't that sound good for business/America? or maybe I'll just work hard and do it myself. 5 years on active duty, and I may have paid 4k for my degree, and only used 8 months of GI Bill. Basic and your MOS training almost gives you a year of college credits. Another approach might be to give 100% support (from internal commands) for active duty service members that want to go to school, like a 6 year program. After 6 years of active service a degree and real experience, and the military gets smart motivated individuals. Tuitions Assistance (different that GI BIll), paid 75% while I was in, ditch the GI Bill and make it 100%. I attended classes while I was deployed during Operation Joint Endeavor, with kevlar and m-16 in hand. I credit this dedication to the command I was under. Throwing money at a problem rarely is a solution, but label it "9/11" and nobody would dare dispute it, right? More politics, that hurt all Americans.

Anonymous said...

Why are you supporting increasing spending on the defense sector? Is that economically good advice for America? It seems that defense spending has already put us into a multi-trillion dollar hole. And created the opportunity for invading nations without provocatin.

Note: The old GI bill was for those who were DRAFTED in WWII. Currently we have professional soldiers fighting wars for profit. Not comparable.

Anonymous said...

Bad idea. I hope the debt your generation face won't turn you into a destructive force. The millitary families were astrong supporters of the invasion of Iraq before it happened. Can you explain why?

Be mature, not just passionate.

Think, and think again.