The Servicemen's Readjustment Act
The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, more commonly known as the GI Bill, is to many one of the most lasting and valuable outcomes of the war. In an effort to avoid a post war depression like the one after WWI, President Franklin Roosevelt looked into creating a bill that would afford veterans greater opportunities while gradually integrating the returning men into the workforce. So the GI Bill was born! Roosevelt signed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 in June, and soon men were arriving home eager to begin their lives post war. For veterans, the GI Bill not only paid for up to four years of higher education, but also allowed for housing and medical benefits, low- interest loans, and cash payments for the unemployed.
More than one million veterans went to college under the GI Bill. It is a staggering number, considering that most of these men never would have had the ability, funds, or motivation to further their education. An additional eight million used one or more of the programs listed in the GI Bill. This bill became the boost many needed to jumpstart their lives, and its long-term effects are difficult to quantify. For many families, it introduced the idea that a college education is an essential and expected step and not a rarity reserved for a lucky few. It also has rippled over to current day debates about who should pay for higher education. Many branches of the military still use education as a reward for service. Full ride scholarships from the Navy, Air Force, and Army are common today, and these continue to help people get an education in valuable fields such as engineering, in exchange for a certain amount of years in active service in that particular branch.