The Evolution Of The GI Bill

A woman veteran with GI BILL logo in background.

For many U.S. service members, the GI Bill® provides vital funding toward education, along with a host of other benefits, such as access to vocational rehabilitation programs, educational counseling and the opportunity for veterans to pass on their GI Bill® benefits to their dependants.

 

The current GI Bill®, also known as the “Forever GI Bill® was signed into law in 2017 and represents the most recent in a series of legislative attempts to provide veterans with access to affordable education.

The Inception of the GI Bill®

In the aftermath of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was determined to take steps to provide for the veterans returning from the conflict. He also wanted to expand the American middle class and prevent the widespread veteran unemployment seen after World War One.

 

Initial ideas for the bill limited benefits to veterans who met specific criteria, such as income and gender, until Harry W. Colmery, former American Legion National Commander and Republican National Chairman, proposed extending benefits to all World War II veterans. His proposals became the basis for the first GI Bill®, which President Roosevelt signed into law on June 22, 1944.

GI Bill® Benefits

The initial GI Bill® included a wide range of benefits for veterans, including a $20 weekly unemployment benefit, for up to one year, for veterans looking for work, guaranteed loans for veterans who borrowed money to purchase a home, business or farm and long-term medical care under the auspices of the Veterans Administration. Veterans who wished to continue their education in a college or vocational school could do so, tuition-free, for up to $500. While studying they would also receive a cost of living stipend, to help with expenses.

 

These benefits allowed many returning from the conflict to re-assimilate in civilian life, continue their education, find work and buy a home, and by 1956, almost 10 million veterans had received GI Bill® benefits.

The Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bill®

The 1944 GI Bill® came with an expiration date, so Mississippi Representative G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery proposed legislation in 1984 to make the GI Bill® permanent, ensuring that veterans of the Vietnam War would be able to receive its benefits. The Montgomery GI Bill® remains in effect today, providing an opt-in program which offers help to veterans and service members with at least two years active duty.

 

In 2008, Congress passed the Post-9/11 GI Bill®. This version of the bill, also still in effect, grants veterans who were on active duty on September 11, 2001 or after, greater educational benefits. It also allows them to transfer unused educational benefits to their spouse or children.

FOREVER GI Bill®

The most recent iteration of the GI Bill®, also known as the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, was signed into law by President Trump in 2017. Widely known as the Forever GI Bill, this added the following provisions to the Post-9/11 GI Bill®.

 

  • It eliminated the 15-year limitation on Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits for eligible veterans and their dependents
  • It took steps to authorize certain work-study programs
  • It brought into being the VetSuccess on Campus program, a vocational rehabilitation program, to students across the country
  • It offered veterans priority enrollment educational counseling
  • Reservists who lost eligibility under the Reserve Educational Assistance Program are now offered (REAP) credit towards the Post-9/11 GI Bill® program

Continued Educational Support for Veterans

The GI Bill®, in all its various forms, has empowered and enabled hundreds of thousands of veterans and their families to access higher education. Here at Northwest Career College we are equally committed to providing every assistance we can to our country’s servicemembers. Call us on (702) 403-1592 to speak to one of our enrollment experts and we will help you find the course and financial aid you need to access the education you deserve.

 

Written by:

Dr. Thomas Kenny

Chief Compliance Officer