On this day in 1944, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, popularly known as the “GI Bill of Rights’’ – an unprecedented act of legislation designed to compensate returning members of the armed services–known as G.I.s–for their efforts in World War II. Edith Nourse Rogers – longtime member of Congress from Lowell representing the Fifth District – sponsored and helped to draft this landmark piece of legislation. Some feel that this legislation ranks in importance with Social Security, Medicare and the Civil Rights Act.
From History.com:As the last of its sweeping New Deal reforms, Roosevelt’s administration created the G.I. Bill–officially the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944–hoping to avoid a relapse into the Great Depression after the war ended. FDR particularly wanted to prevent a repeat of the Bonus March of 1932, when 20,000 unemployed veterans and their families flocked in protest to Washington. The American Legion, a veteran’s organization, successfully fought for many of the provisions included in the bill, which gave returning servicemen access to unemployment compensation, low-interest home and business loans, and–most importantly–funding for education.
From other sources:
The legislation provided for:
•one year’s unemployment compensation of $20 per week.
•loans to buy homes or start businesses. The home loans – backed by the Veterans Administration – had low interest and required no down payment.
•college or vocational training. For veterans who were full-time students, the government paid tuition, books, registration fees and lab fees in addition to giving the veteran a monthly stipend. For part-time students the government only paid the veteran’s tuition.
Check out this Army Information Branch video prepared for WWII vets: http://www.glogster.com/media/2/11/42/81/11428124.jpg