Following the end of World War II, there was a large number of soldiers who were expected to return to civilian life. Those who were stationed around the world were able to come back home and reintegrate back into society in the United States.
This also meant that there was an influx of new workers who could have retired from the military and moved back into the workforce. During the period of World War II, America was starting to prosper after more than a decade of economic depression, and the government was concerned that the veterans returning home would affect economic growth.
In 1944, Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, commonly known as the GI Bill, which would assist veterans who were coming back home. Among other things, the bill expanded access to low-interest mortgages, granted stipends for veterans attending college or trade schools, and more.
From 1945 to 1956, about 50 percent of veterans who served in World War II were receiving a benefit under the GI Bill. During that period, 2.2 million veterans went to college, 3.5 million went to technical or vocational schools, and millions moved back into the workforce. As a result of the GI Bill, the number of Americans who had earned college degrees more than doubled to nearly half a million in 1950.
The GI Bill still confers many benefits today, especially for those looking to attend vocational training such as a coding bootcamp. In this guide, we will explore the history of the GI Bill, how it works, and how the bill can help veterans pay for a coding bootcamp.
The History of the GI Bill
In 1944, FDR was also running for reelection, and his policy agenda included many proposals such as an “economic bill of rights” that would guarantee American citizens employment, health care, education, and housing. However, due to the state of the economy, this was unrealistic. Roosevelt did, however, promise that returning soldiers would receive a suite of benefits in exchange for their service during the war.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt spent a lot of time considering how the US could best help veterans who were returning home from World War II. He also wanted to mitigate the prospects of an economic crisis as millions of people would return back into the labor market. After lengthy debates, the administration came up with the GI Bill to support veterans, which would both protect the economy, and provide veterans the assistance they needed when they returned home.
The GI Bill provided a series of benefits to veterans. Firstly, veterans were entitled to $500 per year toward tuition and a living stipend of $69-90 per month, depending on whether or not they had a family to support while pursuing education. Tuition was significantly cheaper at the time, which meant that the support provided under the GI Bill was enough to help more people go to college and attain a degree.
The educational support under the act also provided benefits for those looking to attend trade schools or other vocational programs. This was important as these schools traditionally taught people how to work in industries colleges did not focus on—welding or carpentry, for example. As a result of the bill, almost 49 percent of college admissions in 1947 comprised of veterans. Higher and further education were now accessible to the masses.
Further, the bill provided veterans with a $20 unemployment benefit per week for a year while looking for work. This would allow veterans to live comfortably while they transitioned back into the workforce and found a job. More than eight million veterans benefited from this government stipend.
The GI Bill also included a provision where the government would guarantee loans for veterans who borrowed money to purchase a home or a business. This gave many veterans access to more economic mobility and the ability to move into higher-quality housing, which resulted in a boom in the housing market. By 1956, almost 10 million veterans had received benefits from the GI Bill.
What Is the Post-9/11 GI Bill?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides education benefits for veterans who have served on active duty for at least 90 days since September 10, 2001. This reauthorization was a massive expansion to the GI Bill that opened up new opportunities for millions of veterans. The Post-9/11 GI Bill allows veterans to claim benefits for the total cost of their tuition and fees, and also allows veterans to claim a monthly housing allowance while they are attending school.
In order to be eligible for benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you must have served at least 90 days of active duty service after that date or 30 days of continuous active duty service after September 10, 2001 and discharged due to a service-related disability. Members of the reserve forces and the National Guard can also apply for benefits under the bill if they fall into one of these categories:
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- All voluntary active duty, excluding active duty for medical care or evaluation;
- Title 32 Service for recruiting, instructing, training, or organizing the National Guard;
- Title 32 Service to respond to a national emergency; or
- Served under Title 10 active duty supporting contingency operations.
Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, tuition and housing allowance payments are based on the amount of time spent on active duty. Veterans who have served at least 30 days of active duty and were discharged for a disability automatically receive all the benefits under the bill. For other service members, the amount you can claim under the Post-9/11 GI Bill depends on how many months you have spent in service.
If you have spent 90 aggregate days in service, you can claim 40 percent of your tuition and housing stipend; if you have spent at least 36 cumulative months, you can claim the full benefit. The number of benefits you can receive increases depending on how many months you have served after September 10, 2001.
Veterans can also apply for a monthly housing stipend based on the location of their school. Additionally, veterans can apply for an annual book stipend of up to $1,000 per year, paid at the beginning of each term.
What Is the Forever GI Bill?
In 2017, President Trump signed the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, commonly known as the “Forever GI Bill”. This legislation eliminated the requirement that you had to use your benefit within 15 years which existed under the Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits.
The bill also clarified the fact that beneficiaries can use their credits at non-traditional education institutions such as career and technical education. The bill launched pilot programs for technology courses, removed the expiration date for work-study benefits and made several other improvements to the legislation.
VET TEC Coding Training
As a result of the Forever GI Bill, the Department of Veterans Affairs has launched the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) program. This program is intended to help veterans acquire skills in technical vocations which will help them thrive in the modern economy. To apply for the VET TEC program, veterans need only one day of unexpired GI Bill benefits.
The program does not utilize GI Bill benefits but pays a monthly housing stipend to students in the program. Veterans who are eligible for the VET TEC program will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until funding for the program has been spent. To find out more about the program, read the Veteran Affairs’ article on the program here.
Can GI Bill Benefits Pay for Bootcamp Education?
The GI Bill has always paid for education in community colleges or universities—one aim of the bill was to help veterans access higher education. However, the bill has also paid for vocational education such as police academies, welding schools, and truck driving programs.
Veterans can use their education benefits toward any vocational program, which includes coding bootcamps. Coding bootcamps have only started to receive attention in terms of GI Bill funding because they are a new means of education, while funding under this bill has existed for decades. However, there are many coding bootcamps that accept GI Bill funding in exchange for their offerings.
Which Bootcamps Are GI Bill Eligible For?
Dozens of coding bootcamps now accept GI Bill funding from veterans who are interested in attending their school. The bootcamps which offer access to GI Bill funding include:
- Skill Distillery
- Cincy Code IT
- We Can Code IT
- V School
- Nashville Software School
- Turing School
- Code Fellows
- PDX Code Guild
- SecureSet Academy
- Code Immersives
- Deep Dive Coding
- Tech Elevator
- Wyncode Academy
- DevPoint Labs
- Eleven Fifty Academy
- We Can Code It
- Code Platoon
- General Assembly
- The Software Guild
What Other Funding Is Available for Veterans at Coding Bootcamps?
If you do not qualify for funding under the GI Bill, or if you are only eligible for a partial amount of funding under the bill, there are other options available. Many bootcamps offer scholarships—although limited in size—to veterans and military workers who are interested in acquiring skills in coding and technology.
For example, Coding Dojo’s Military Retraining scholarship grants eligible veterans $1,500 to help them pay for their education at the bootcamp. Additionally, the Code Fellows Diversity Scholarship Fund pays for up to 70 percent of a veteran’s tuition at the school. Operation Code, an organization committed to helping service members and veterans become software developers, has also partnered with a few coding bootcamps to launch scholarship programs:
- Thinkful: $400 off tuition for veterans enrolled in their Web Development Career Path program;
- Launch School: Two full scholarships for veterans;
- Flatiron School: $500 off their monthly tuition for the first 50 veterans who sign up; and
- Bloc.io: $1000 tuition credit for all veterans enrolled in their Web Developer Track program.
Other coding bootcamps which offer scholarships for veterans include:
- The New Relic Diversity Coding Bootcamp Scholarship (Bloc.io, $500)
- Veteran Scholarship (Claim Academy, $500)
- Diversity Scholarship Fund (Code Fellows, 50-75% of tuition)
- Military Retraining Scholarship (Coding Dojo, $1000)
- Code Platoon Scholarships (up to $13,000)
- DigitalCrafts Scholarships (up to $1500)
- Scholarship for Veterans (Fullstack Academy, $1000)
The Future of the GI Bill
The GI Bill resulted in great economic prosperity following World War II. Benefits under the program ensured that returning veterans could come back to a good labor market and access the training they needed to thrive in the modern economy.
The program also enabled millions of people to access higher and further education, which allowed them to command higher salaries and thus become more financially sustainable. Today, the GI Bill continues to have a significant impact on the economy, and the Post-9/11 and Forever reauthorization programs have opened up access to benefits for many more veterans.