Bullet Wisdom

I am an Active Duty Officer in the US Army. I am a Husband, father, writer, hunter, gamer, and SOLDIER. This blog is a forum for my many hobbies as well as my random musings.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

President to Congress: Transfer GI Bill Benefits to Families!

In his final State of the Union address, the President made the following statement to Congress:

“I call on Congress to enact the reforms recommended by Senator Bob Dole and Secretary Donna Shalala, so we can improve the system of care for our wounded warriors… Our military families sacrifice for America… So I ask you to join me in expanding their access to childcare, creating new hiring preferences for military spouses across the federal government, and allowing our troops to transfer their unused education benefits to their spouses or children.”
The fact is, since 2002, the Department of Defense made transfers of GI Bill available to military family members. The Army used that as a retention incentive for targeted career fields. Monday night, the President issued some extremely broad guidance stating that this targeted benefit to some be made mandatory for all. I happen to know a rather attractive gal that would love to get her hands on my $12 large.

Here are some relevant statistics courtesy DMI:

  • Regular military compensation for a single enlisted member in the lowest pay grade in 2006: $29,700.

  • Regular military compensation for an enlisted member with a spouse and two children in the lowest pay grade in 2006: $32,800.

  • Number of dollars added to the national economy for every dollar spent on educational benefits under the original G.I. Bill: $7.

  • Approximate amount of tuition support a service member can receive, in total, under the current G.I. Bill: $39,600.

  • Average price of one year at a 4-year private college: $22,218.

  • Percentage of troops who pay a nonrefundable $1,200 contribution towards G.I. Bill benefits who never use the G.I. Bill: 30%.

  • Percentage of veterans who use their whole G.I. Bill benefit: 8%.

  • Average amount less per hour that military wives earn compared to their civilian counterparts: $3.

  • Percentage of active-duty military spouses who have their high school diploma: 97%.

Thank you Mr. President. Congress, get to work.


That Guy From That Band said...

MAJ -- Outstanding point! I think my spouse could get a lot more use out of the GI Bill than I ever could.

Army Sergeant said...

Yet this is the same president that went in front of the Armed Services committee and told them that there didn't need to be any GI bill increases, because they would hurt retention, as soldiers would be too tempted to get out of the military and use them.


Ken said...

Update - It looks like this is picking up steam as there is now a bipartisan effort co-sponsored by, of all people, Sen John Kerry, that will make GI Bill benefits transferrable to any family member as well as expand benefits for veterans. This bill received a big push on Fox News from Bill O'Reilly.

LG said...

I'm confused...why would a military wife receive $3 less than her civilian counterpart? I'm not saying I don't believe it, just curious. (My mom used to be a military wife, so I find this interesting.)

Anonymous said...

Can the 92% who do not use their GI Bill correlate with the increased costs of attending college? I dont think so. I believe those who dont use it are strongly impacted by life changes and less motivation than the costs of school itself. I disagree with strong and overarching increases in the GI Bill and that of allowing spouses/dependents using the remaining benefits their military member doesnt. Who benefits more from their own investment in school than one who pays for it themselves. I know we hear the "I wants" but I really believe that our spouses (who complain about how strapped they are for time/resources) can not fulfill their own educational plans lest they actually get support from their military member. I believe the costs of in-state tuition should be met however the stipends are too much. At some point there are diminishing returns that extrinsic rewards have on the public service motivation that our soldiers work within. Continuing to bolster benefits, invent Army Family Convenants, funnel money into MWR funds which all lack empirical evidence of value and performance means the military has no clue as to what they're buying.

I am a military member and spouse. I use my GI Bill benefits (active duty) and we have no challenges in meeting our financial obligations outside those realms. Oh I guess because we have no children makes a bigger impact than those who have multitudes.