G.I. Bill Revisions? - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR--Brett Garrett Reports

G.I. Bill Revisions?

February 27, 2006--Posted at 5:30 p.m.

JONESBORO, AR--National Guardsmen could be the benefactors of a revamped G.I. Bill. In 1944 the original G.I. Bill of Rights was enacted using federal funds to pay the entire college education for veterans of World War 2. 

A lot has changed over the last 60 years and now lawmakers in Washington are considering revising the G.I. Bill. It's still unclear what the proposed changes might be but some are proposing increasing benefits especially for National Guard and reserve troops.

"When I joined the National Guard 3 years ago the big things were the tuition assistance and the G.I. Bill," said ASU student Matthew Gipson.

Gipson has been in the National Guard the last 3 years and that has helped make it possible for him to attend ASU the last four years.

"First off if you want to go to school we have the tools to pay for it," said National Guard Recruiter Sgt. Matt Kelley.

With more monetary tools at their disposal to attract people to the armed forces the National Guard believes additional benefits should improve recruiting.

"I think the G.I. Bill increased means more money for students and by having more money in their pocket you can focus more on educational side of the house instead of financial," said Kelley.

Currently students who are enlisted in the National Guard get less than 500 dollars a month for living expenses. And with inflation and the high cost of books it forces some students to find a different source of income.

"Next semester I will be completed with the ROTC program so either I am going to have to find a job or some other form of income," said Gipson.

Some people feel this proposed change is being used to boost recruiting but the National Guard feels it is a worthwhile revision to the bill which was last updated in 1985.

"I don't think it has anything to do with recruiting being low I think it is just a changing time and they looked at it and need to revise it," said Kelley.

Both students and the branches of the military are hoping more money will make for a stronger American military.

"The more that we can funnel into the system the strong the army will be," said Gipson.

In addition to the monthly money from the G.I. Bill the National Guard pays a 100 percent college tuition and an enlistment bonus. A bonus that is 20,000 dollars from now until the end of May.

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