Tuesday, February 12, 2008

GI Bill

I had to laugh when I heard on the news that DOD was against the new GI bill being proposed in congress because it would cause more people to leave the service rather than re-enlist. “Defense officials said GI Bill benefits are an important recruiting benefit, but making the program too generous could hurt, rather than help, the services (1)” This is a blatantly false argument that sounds good but isn’t tempered in reality.

The GI bill is known as a benefit, in other words, it’s not an entitlement like food and water or pay. The GI bill is used and quite successfully, as recruitment tool and some would argue it is hands down the Army’s premier recruitment tool. Especially when you consider that, the Active Duty GI Bill when combined with an added kicker (these are monetary add-ons from the army) a soldier will currently get 72,000 for use towards college (2).

The other half of the argument that just does not wash with reality is that Active duty Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coasties, Airmen and Guard members all get 100% free college while on active duty. So how would money for college after you get out help people who already have college degrees? If anything, this is the real argument for not increasing the benefit, because people just wont need it.

According to the 2006 American Community Survey by the U.S Census Bureau for men that complete a bachelors degree make 23,731 dollars more per year on average than those with only a Highschool degree(3). Every person in uniform is entitled to a college education, its that simple. If you swear into branch and give up your freedom to serve the country then the least you should earn is the right to an education.

1. http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2007/07/military_gibill_opposition_070731w/

2. http://www.census.gov/prod/2007pubs/acs-08.pdf

3. http://education.military.com/money-for-school/gi-bill/gi-bill-kicker

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