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Published: Wednesday, 7/11/2001

Better educated recruits

The number and the quality of military enlistees will increase if the U.S. Senate adds its approval to a bill practically doubling veterans' education benefits.

A $9 billion GI Bill will increase training and education benefits for veterans over the next 10 years. The measure is bound to draw more young people to enlist in the U.S. armed forces. Many youth today don't even consider signing up, but the lure of more education and training benefits will make the service more attractive.

The House unanimously passed the bill, 416-0, and there's no reason for the Senate to not do likewise. Such a proposal is a lot more than a chance to reaffirm obligations to veterans. It's a chance for Congress to reaffirm its commitment to higher education and training.

The goal of the GI Bill, enacted in 1944, was to help veterans readjust to civilian life. It was one of the most enlightened legislative acts of the 20th century and has remained a popular concept ever since. This proposed bill benefits both veterans and the military, and the nation as a whole.

Monthly benefits would jump from $650 to $1,100 for veterans with three years' service. Veterans who serve for two years, or reservists who serve four years, would see their benefits over three years increase from $528 a month to $894 a month. Once completely implemented, education benefits will increase from $23,400 to $39,600.

Quality enlistments are down for the military. The $9 billion GI Bill will address that problem and give the military and the country more and better educated recruits.

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