Published Date

June 1, 1945

Resource Type

GI Roundtable Series, Primary Source

From GI Roundtable 34: Shall I Go Back to School? (1945)

Going back to school takes time. It also takes money. The cost will vary according to a combination of factors: the school or type of school you pick, the kind of course you want, where the school is, and how long a time you need to finish the course.

The ordinary expenses of going to school are tuition, books and instruments, room and board, laundry, and social, recreational, and miscellaneous personal expenses. These costs differ widely, depending upon the type of school and its location. For example, in trade schools tuition is usually quite moderate or even free, while in certain private colleges tuition may be several hundred dollars each year.

Since government assistance covers the cost of tuition under both the GI and rehabilitation programs, this sum will usually not be of great concern to the veteran while his government scholarship lasts. Similarly, the cost of tools, instruments, and books changes according to the type and length of the training program, but these are also paid by the government.

Room, board, and incidental expenses also vary somewhat in different sections of the country. Under the GI Bill the subsistence allowance to cover these expenses is $50 per month for a single man and $75 for a man with dependents. Veterans who are disabled can take their training under these provisions of the GI Bill or, if they choose, under other laws providing especially for the rehabilitation of disabled veterans. In most cases the latter offer more liberal benefits: for instance, $92 a month for qualified single men, $103.50 for married men, and more for men with other dependents.

These subsistence allowances are given to men who are enrolled in vocational or trade schools, high schools, or colleges. Under some circumstances, however-for example if a man gets certain other kinds of income or if he is enrolled for less than a full-time course-his subsistence allowance under this part of the GI Bill may be correspondingly reduced from the full amount.


How long will the payments last?

The length of the training period will vary for different kinds of work. In some cases it may last for several years. This may raise problems about age, marriage, and other personal matters. In addition, there are certain time limits on a serviceman’s eligibility for training financed by the government. After his first year (12 months) of full-time study (or the equivalent in part-time work) has been successfully completed, a veteran eligible for the educational benefits of the law may under certain circumstances (see p. 17) be able to get up to three years (36 months) more of government-paid schooling. This added period paid for by the government, however, will not be longer than the time he was on active duty. In no event will government aid extend beyond seven years after the end of the war. The final limitation, however, allows more time than the great majority of men will want or need.

If a soldier wants to go to school for a longer period of time than is provided by law, or if he begins his training more than two years after discharge or after the end of the war, whichever is later, he may have to pay his own educational costs or get assistance from other sources than the United States Veterans Administration.

It is not amiss to say here that whatever decision a soldier makes about the questions under discussion, accumulating a little capital, or nest egg from savings, is one problem he can be working on now. Any savings he can make in the way of war bonds or other safe securities will give him elbow-room to make his choice when he is released from service.

How long will training take?

The soldier who plans to go back to school will want to know how much time his training will require. Each soldier’s plans are different. The period of training may range from one week to four years or more depending upon the type of employment for which the veteran is preparing.

Some time will be saved through a plan adopted by most schools and colleges-a plan to give soldiers credits for-some, of` their military instruction and experience. For example, a man who has learned a foreign language may cash in on that knowledge in several ways. He may receive partial or full credit for required language courses in high school or college. He may use it in his job. He may use it for his own interest and pleasure, in reading books written in the language. How many soldiers are using their opportunities while abroad to learn a foreign language?

Mathematics is a subject which many soldiers willfind useful if they return to school. It is used in a great number of jobs, and most civilian educational institutions require that it be studied in many different courses of instruction.

Other arrangements are being worked out for schools and colleges to grant credit for basic military training and specialized Army training courses as well as for correspondence courses taken through the United States Armed Forces Institute at Madison, Wisconsin.

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