GI Bill Earns Dunce Cap
I found this story in today’s @issue section of the Atlanta Journal- Constitution. The author is Ellis Henican who is a columnist for Newsday. He makes a point that returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan arrive to an ugly surprise – the highly touted education they were promised is still limping along essentially at World War II rates of funding compared to actual costs of an education. The GI Bill is failing them and failing us for the promises we make for our heroes that go off to war.
He says what too many of us have been saying for it not to be true: Our members of Congress from both parties are constantly saying how much they support our troops, yet once again, they shortchange our warriors when they come home. Read the excerpts and then go back to the link above and read the entire article:
Returning Vets find GI Bill earns dunce cap
by Ellis Henican
Published on: 11/30/07
They’re coming home, the lucky ones are, pulling their lives back together after harrowing times in the war zone. And the GI Bill is there to help them, same as it was for “the greatest generation,” who returned to civilian society after World War II.
Um, well, not exactly.
American vets now coming back from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are facing an ugly surprise — and I don’t just mean the iffy health care at their local VA hospital. The educational benefits that sounded so alluring in those upbeat recruiting ads? They don’t come close to covering the real costs of college.
“Four hundred dollars? Are you kidding?” Army Reserve Spc. Sheila Pion said of her monthly stipend. “Just my textbooks cost $410.”
A seven-year reservist back home in Long Island City, N.Y., and attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Pion served at an Army hospital in Kuwait, tending to wounded soldiers. “It was important duty,” said Pion, 24. “I was happy to do it. But the whole point of me joining the military was to pay for my education. And the educational benefits are nothing like they lead you to believe.”
Under today’s GI Bill, regular-service combat vets get $1,101 a month, far less for fighting members of the National Guard and Reserve. No one’s going to Harvard or Columbia on that kind of money. And even to qualify, today’s soldiers are required to deposit $100 a month into their own education fund, months or years before they ever get a nickel back.
“A combat tax,” the troops have starting calling these paycheck deductions.
(…) Read the rest at the link, please.
“Supporting the troops”
should be more than just a slogan!
Note: After posting this an hour or so ago, I came across this related information.
Did you know that the “No Child Left Behind” act now carries a provision that requires primary schools (your child’s high school for example) to provide detailed contact information for every child in the school to military recruiters?
Military recruiters can blitz youngsters with uninvited phone calls to their homes and on-campus pitches replete with video war games. This is all possible under a little noted part of the law that requires schools to provide the names, addresses (campus addresses, too) and phone numbers of students or risk losing federal aid. The law provides an option to block the hard-sell recruitment – but only if parents demand in writing that the school deny this information to the military.
It is in the recruitment of lower middle class students, focused on minority blacks and Hispanics, where the education card is pushed hardest in order to meet the recruitment goals to fill the ranks of our military. These are the kids most likely to see an educational opportunity as a blessing and also the most unlikely to realize that it will not be enough to get them a real education. It is these recruits that are in most need that later find the GI Bill failing them most dramatically.