STAFF EDITORIAL: Post 9/11 G.I. Bill honors veterans, their families
The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, or the G.I. Bill, has been called the most significant piece of legislature ever written in the U.S.
Eight million people in WWII took advantage of the G.I. Bill, leading to an age of technological expansion and prosperity that yielded the moon landing, the nuclear age and rapid advances in medicine.
The expansion of the G.I. Bill in the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill has the ability to provoke similar growth from another generation of soldiers returning from foreign wars.
President Bush signed the expansion in 2008, but the first of those slated funds was disbursed on August 1. This funding is intended to pay for in-state tuition at a university and includes stipends for room and board, books and additional tutorial assistance.
Service members also have an option to transfer their college benefit to their children or spouses if they sign up for another four years.
The original bill was intended to give veterans a chance at reintegrating into civilian population. Some found it to be patronizing, while others saw it as another ‘government handout,’ almost antithetical to the military ideal.
This bill treats soldiers and their families as valuable resources instead of liabilities, and soldiers are responding in droves to the benefits offered.
Kimberley Hefling of the Associated Press reports an approximate 112,000 Post 9/11 Bill claims have been processed, with 25,000 service members requesting a transfer of benefits. This adds up to a large boost to college and university enrollment as soldiers return stateside.
These soldiers have been through remarkably rough situations in the field, experiences which are likely to give them a different viewpoint on education.
When the first G.I. Bill was passed, higher education was reserved largely for the richer and more privileged members of society. It was, in fact, one of the privileges that defined the term.
Soldiers returning from war are no longer seen as liabilities, but as assets. We look forward to welcoming them back home, and seeing them in our classrooms.