On the legislative front, efforts to modernize the GI Bill press forward against heavy White House opposition.
"The current educational benefits offered to veterans are far lower than the original GI Bill. Today, after paying a nonrefundable contribution from their first military paychecks, troops can receive a total of up to $39,600 towards their education. Unfortunately, this covers only 60-70% of the average cost of four years at a public college or university, or less than two years at a typical private college.
"In addition, structural problems and bureaucratic delays discourage veterans from using their GI Bill benefits. National Guardsmen and Reservists, including those who have served multiple combat tours, typically receive only a fraction of their GI Bill benefits. Moreover, 30% of troops who pay the nonrefundable $1,200 contribution do not end up using the GI Bill at all. These veterans have paid the government $230 million, but received nothing in return.
"Today’s veterans deserve a real reintegration program to help adjust to the civilian world. At the same time, a renewed GI Bill is a practical answer to the military’s troop shortage. Despite investing $4 billion in recruiting annually, the military has had serious problems recruiting high-caliber personnel. The Pentagon has responded by lowering age, education, and aptitude standards for new recruits, as well as upping the number of recruiters and increasing enlistment bonuses. These stopgap measures will not address long-term problems with recruiting, especially as the overall size of the armed forces is expanded.
"Rather than continuing to spend billions in bonuses for lower-standard enlistees, increasing GI Bill benefits would encourage high-aptitude young people to join the military. The GI Bill is the military’s single most effective recruitment tool: the number-one reason civilians join the military is to get money for college. As our military recovers and resets in the coming years, an expanded GI Bill will play a crucial role in ensuring that our military remains the strongest and most advanced in the world."
If you a World War II veteran and a beneficiary of the original GI Bill, or an Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who has had trouble paying for school, you can tell your story here.
Learn More: http://www.gibill2008.org/