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VA’s GI Bill Success: Investing in Our Veterans

Post-9/11 Bill Continues Recognition of Service for Nearly 70 Years. 

There’s far more to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) than medical care and disability benefits.  While our blog often focuses on VA’s serious challenges, today we shine the spotlight on VA’s critical value to our social contract.

One very important social program is VA’s GI Bill.  This month marks the fourth anniversary of the Post-9/11 GI Bill which assisted nearly one million Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans pursue their education and smooth the transition from combat to community.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill, originally sponsored by former Senator Jim Webb, is the most extensive educational assistance program passed for Veterans since the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act, more commonly known as the GI Bill of Rights.  The first law was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1944.

The original GI Bill is best remembered for providing educational benefits to World War II Veterans in order to avoid a repeat of the national tragedy the Bonus Army march by unpaid World War I Veterans on Washington during 1932.  The highly successful social program invested in America’s veterans in a nation recovering from four years of war and the Great Depression:

  • In the first seven years after the defeat of the Axis Powers, more than eight million war Veterans attended more than 1,700 schools and colleges, a massive U.S. government investment of $14,000,000,000 in higher education that created our current middle class.
  • Provided $500,000,000 to build additional Veterans hospitals.
  • Provided loans for veterans to purchase existing homes, build new homes, buy farms and farm equipment, plus buy business property, thus sparking the building of suburbs all across America.
  • Provided job counseling, employment services, and one full year of unemployment benefit payments, providing economic stability in the post-war recession.

According to VA, the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides educational support through tuition, books, and housing allowance to people with at least 90 days of total post-9/11 service, or people discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days.

In four years the new GI Bill has been huge success for America by investing $30 billion in more than one million Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. Imagine how much higher Veteran unemployment would be without this important program where new Veterans went from the military to college instead of from the battlefield to the difficult job market.

Approved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degreesvocational and technical trainingon-the-job trainingflight trainingcorrespondence traininglicensing and national testing programs, entrepreneurship training, and tutorial assistance.

For more information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other Veteran education programs, check out http://www.gibill.va.gov.

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