THE GI BILL The US remembered the post World War I recession, when millions of veterans returned to unemployment and homelessness. Twice as many veterans would return from World War II, and a repeat of World War I was on everyone's mind. As early as 1942, plans were being made to handle the anticipated postwar problems. The National Resources Planning Board, a White House agency, had studied postwar manpower needs and in June 1943, recommended a series of programs for education and training. The American Legion is credited with designing the main features of the GI Bill and pushing it through Congress. The Legion overcame objections that the proposed bill was too sweeping and could jeopardize veterans getting any help at all.

At the time Congress had already failed to act on about 640 bills concerning veterans. Members of the American Legion met first in Washington on December 15, 1943, and by January 6 had completed the first draft of the GI Bill. The board outlines were in the final law signed six months later. John Stelle, a former Governor of Illinois, and a leader of the Legion, is credited with drawing up the first draft of the bill that eventually became law. A healthy postwar economy would depend on providing soldiers money and a place to live once they were home. So the US Government came up with the GI Bill witch was passed 50-0.

On June 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the GI Bill of Rights. The law made possible the loan of billions of dollars to purchase homes for millions of veterans, and helped transform the majority of Americans from renters to homeowners. Though the bill sounded so great many in Congress and educators at Colleges and Universities had serious doubts. Some felt the GI Bill was too expensive, others feared veterans would lower standards in education.

Many saw a postwar America faced with the loss of millions of jobs, creating unprecedented unemployment. A federal sure indicated that 56% of the nation's soldiers anticipated a widespread economic depression after the war. The GI Bill offered veterans up to $500 a year for college tuition and other educational costs-ample funding at the time. An unmarried veteran also received a $50-a-month allowance for each month spent in uniform; a married veteran received slightly more. Other benefits included mortgage subsidies, enabling veterans to purchase homes with relative ease. It also made what was called the 5220 club, veterans out of college would get $20 a week for 52 weeks.

Despite the fears that some worried about, the G. I. Bill proved to be enormously effective although College campuses did become grossly overcrowded in the postwar years: approximately 7. 8 million World War II veterans received benefits under the original G. I. Bill, and 2.

2 million of those used the program for higher education. By 1947 half of all college students were veterans. Prefabricated buildings and Quonset huts were used as classrooms, and military barracks were often converted into dormitories. However, having spent a large part of their youth engaged in battle, World War II veterans were highly motivated. GIs in their late twenties and early thirties returned to the United States in droves, anxious to catch up with their nonmilitary peers, marry, settle down, and support a family. The benefits provided by the G.

I. Bill facilitated these goals.