BAIT AND SWITCH. Sara Mead alerted me to her Higher Ed Watch blog through the New America Foundation today, and although she wrote this post on veterans education benefits last week, it's still good stuff.
She talks about how veterans come back to find the promised benefit only pays for about 75 percent of the cost of tuition at a public 4-year university, not including books and housing. What's more, these veterans are asked to pay $1,200 out of pocket and up front. She says that "the fact fewer than 10 percent use all their education benefits suggests it’s low." Her analysis concludes:
But there’s a deeper issue here as well—the widening class divide in higher education access. Rising college costs, stagnant aid, and the elimination of high-wage/low-skill jobs have priced many from low-income and working class families out of the public four-year college market (forget about private colleges and universities!), leaving community college, trade school, or the military as their only options for higher education. Meanwhile, affluent parents go to ever greater lengths to get their children into expensive slots at the most elite colleges and universities.
This is an underreported issue, and most don't realize how little the GI Bill is actually providing. When Senators Clinton, Murphy and Webb introduced legislation to make the bill more comprehensive, the administration said it would cost too much. It's typical that we're willing to spend money on defense but not education for those that do the dirty work of war.