VA Celebrates 70th Anniversary of the Original “GI Bill”

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Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 created Home Loan, Education and Vocational Training Benefits

 

June 23, 2014 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is celebrating 70 years of investment in the education and economic prosperity of America’s Servicemembers and Veterans. The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the “GI Bill” was enacted on June 22, 1944. The law provided a wide range of benefits for Veterans returning from World War II, including low-cost home loans, education and vocational training. The original GI Bill was heralded as a success and major contributor to America’s stock of human capital that sped long-term economic growth across the Nation. Today, a new group of Veterans is accessing the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other education benefits, following in their footsteps.

Roughly 8 million out of 16 million World War II Veterans used their GI Bill education benefit. Subsequent legislation expanded and extended similar “GI Bill” benefits to generations that followed, including Veterans of the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf Wars as well as those serving during peacetime. Passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill provided this important benefit to our newest generation of Veterans, including activated members of the National Guard and Reserve components.

This newest generation includes Veterans like Jennifer Martin, who after serving 8 years in the United States Marine Corps, used her Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology from the University of the District of Columbia.  Jennifer is now conducting research at the VA Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, as part of her Doctoral studies at Gallaudet University. Upon graduation, she hopes to work with Veterans who suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus.

VA provides a variety of education and training benefits for Veterans pursuing a wide range of education goals – including certificate programs, post-secondary degrees and work-study programs. Since August 2009, VA has paid out more than $41 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to fund the education of 1.2 million beneficiaries. New online tools on the GI Bill website help Veterans learn more about their vocational aptitudes and select an education institution and training program that are right for them.

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