June 22 marked the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944. Universally referred to as the G.I. Bill, the act could have been the most influential legislation of the 20th Century.
Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June, 22 1944, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act provided a variety of benefits for World War II Veterans that previous American military Veterans didn’t see.
In 1932, during the Great Depression, 43,000 WWI Veterans marched on Washington D.C. to demand the meager benefits that they were promised, but never received, from the Bonus Act of 1924. Several Veterans were killed by police and the U.S. Army. President Hoover eventually ordered the Army to clear the protester’s camp. The Veterans left Washington with even less than what they arrived with, as the Army was ordered to burn the Veterans’ possessions.
During WWII, lawmakers wanted to avoid the civil unrest and confusion that the U.S. had seen from previous generations of Veterans. Several versions of Veteran benefit legislation were drafted and batted around the capital. While everyone knew that some form of bill would pass, it was still a struggle. Ultimately, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 was passed by both chambers of Congress, and signed into law by President Roosevelt on June 22, 1944.
Veterans returning from WWII were offered tuition money for college, $20 a week in unemployment while they looked for work, and low interest, zero down payment home loans. The original GI Bill also had provisions for building VA hospitals, and established the means for helping transitioning Veterans find employment.
Courtesy of the GI Bill, 7.8 million WWII Veterans went to college or received vocational training. Of all the students on college campuses in 1949, 49% had fought in WWII. These Veterans used their education, training and military experience to boost the nation’s economy in the 1950’s & 60’s.
Today’s Post-9/11 GI Bill is the most comprehensible benefit in history, and is the most monumental benefit addition since the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944. The Post-9/11 GI Bill fully compensates Veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with college tuition, and the means f to sustain themselves and their families while they earn their degrees.
Today’s GI Bill offers:
- Full cost of in-state public college tuition, up to $19,198.31 per year for private or out of state schools.
- $1,000 per year ($500 per semester) for books and school supplies.
- Monthly housing allowance that is equivalent to E-5 with dependent BAH for school’s zip code.
Since the passing of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, tens of millions of U.S. military Veterans have had access to education, housing, and employment benefits that improve their lives and the lives of their families.
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Military Connection: 70 Years of the GI Bill: By Joe Silva