Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Serviceman's Readjustment Act, a.k.a. the GI Bill, seventy years ago today, June 22, 1944, at the White House here in the Nation's Capital.
The GI Bill provided returning veterans of World War II money for college tuition, living expenses, books and supplies.
The bill had a major impact on post secondary education in the United States.
Before WWII, 15% of young Americans went on to higher education. After WWII, 50% of all college students were veterans.
The bill included a provision to provide low interest loans for housing which would provide the opportunity for veterans and their families to move out of urban apartments to new homes in the suburbs.
Harry W. Colmery*, former commander of the American Legion, wrote the first draft of the GI Bill while Senator Ernest McFarland of Arizona, Warren Atherton, and Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts played major roles in the legislation.
*Harry W. Colmery, a Kansas attorney, served as an Army Air Force pilot in World War I. His post war experiences contributed to his interest in helping WWII vets have an easier transition to civilian life.
He was awarded the American Legion's Distinguished Service Award in 1975. HWC died at the age of 88 in 1979.