Fact Check: The G.I. Bill did not provide free education to WWII vets

October 23, 2012

In making an argument that public higher education should be free in the United States, Green Party candidate Jill Stein suggested the G.I. Bill after World War II provided veterans with a free education. That’s not true. 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing statement from Oct. 27, 1943, said that the bill would give “servicemen and women the opportunity of resuming their education or technical training after discharge, or of taking a refresher or retrainer course, not only without tuition charge up to $500 per school year, but with the right to receive a monthly living allowance while pursuing their studies.”

This suggests veterans would have $500 per school year to help pay for their studies, but not that the bill guaranteed a free education for returning service members. Today, the G.I. Bill provides $1,473 per month for full-time students, but it still does not guarantee free tuition. 

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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