G.I. Bill

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The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the G.I. Bill, was a law that provided a range of benefits for returning World War II veterans (commonly referred to as G.I.s). It was designed by the American Legion, who helped push it through Congress by mobilizing its chapters (along with the Veterans of Foreign Wars); the goal was to provide immediate rewards for practically all World War II veterans. Before World War II, American colleges historically provided financial aid directly to their students. The G.I. Bill signaled a new type of government involvement in education aid as well as a recognition of the connection between higher education and economic productivity. The G.I. Bill guaranteed military personnel a year of education for ninety days of service, plus one month for each month of active combat duty, with a maximum award of forty-eight months of benefits. The G.I. Bill was even more popular than its drafters envisioned. To keep up with demand, the government added the College Scholarship Service, a prelude to National Defense Student Loans, which later became the Perkins Loan Program.