Attrition: The G.I. Bill Factor

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February 2, 2006: One of the major reasons many have forjoining the military for a single (usually four year) enlistment, are the G.I. Bill educational benefits. Under this law, active duty veterans got $1,034 a month if they are attending school full time. Reservists can get $297 a month, and reservists who have been activated can get as much as $827 a month, depending on length of active service. The G.I. Bill was first introduced right after World War II. It proved an unexpected success, creating over two million college graduates and over five million men and women with other training. The G.I. Bill greatly accelerated the rate of college attendance. At the time, high school was a relatively new educational concept, with less than half of all Americans graduating. College was seen much the same way graduate school is now. The G.I. Bill created an educated generation that kicked off the post-World War II economic boom that has continued to this day (without being interrupted by a major economic contraction.) The World War II G.I. Bill ended in 1956, but was revived a decade later, during the Vietnam war. It continued as the draft was dropped in 1972, and continues to be a basic "veterans benefit." The educational benefits are one reason why so many middle class kids still join. With so many college students graduating with lots of tuition loans, those with the G.I. Bill come out with little or no debt. Moreover, going to college in your early 20s, after military service, tends to be a more productive approach. A little maturity does wonders for your study habits.

 


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