A Brief History Of: The GI Bill

Mary Knox Merrill / The Christian Science Monitor / Getty

Student and former Army Corporal Matt Hilerio enlisted to take advantage of the GI Bill.

Few government programs have delivered on america's promise as a land of opportunity as explicitly as the GI Bill. When it was signed in June 1944, the Servicemen's Readjustment Act (the policy's official name) offered a college scholarship to all those who had served in uniform, whether or not they had fought on the front lines. In the decades since, benefits have fallen far behind the cost of university tuitions, prompting Senators Jim Webb and Chuck Hagel to draft a new GI Bill that would offer soldiers full tuition at any state school.

As generous as that sounds, the 1944 bill--among...

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