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Understanding the Cost and Quality of Military-Related Education Benefit Programs

Understanding the Cost and Quality of Military-Related Education Benefit Programs

Paco Martorell
Peter Bergman
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 42
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  • Book Info
    Understanding the Cost and Quality of Military-Related Education Benefit Programs
    Book Description:

    Since the 1944 passage of the original GI Bill, the military has provided veterans with a collection of benefits to help them attend college. However, issues such as rising tuition costs; an increasing presence of low-quality, for-profit institutions that target veterans; and a potentially confusing array of benefit options could mitigate program impact. This report contextualizes these issues and formulates a research agenda to address them.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8479-8
    Subjects: Business, History, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    Veterans and service members are offered a wide array of benefits to encourage higher education and ease the transition back into the labor force. However, it remains unclear if these assistance programs—individually or in combination—effectively and efficiently serve their intended purposes. The increasing number of service members returning home from conflicts overseas combined with budgetary uncertainties in Congress precipitates the need for research that can shed light on the consequences of these programs and help improve the efficiency of benefit allocations. This report attempts to provide background on the institutional and policy context surrounding veterans’ educational benefits, and...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Military-Related Education Benefit Programs
    (pp. 3-6)

    To improve upon the treatment of veterans following World War I, the GI Bill of Rights sought to help World War II veterans reintegrate into civilian life through a collection of generous benefits (Serviceman’s Readjustment Act, 1944). Signed into law in 1944, the original GI Bill provided a range of supports: education subsidies, low-cost home and business loans, and unemployment insurance.

    The educational benefits were significant. The original GI Bill offered 48 months of tuition benefits equal to $500 per term ($6,192 in 2010 dollars) and up to $120 dollars per month ($1,486 in 2010 dollars) to cover living expenses...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Empirical Patterns of MGIB Benefit Usage
    (pp. 7-10)

    Given the increasing number of service members who are returning home and leaving the service as part of drawdowns, the remainder of this paper focuses primarily on GI Bill benefits. While there is considerable information about the details of the MGIB program, there is less information about patterns in usage. We now discuss the results of an empirical analysis that documents the growing importance of GI Bill benefits. To conduct this analysis, we used military personnel records and administrative data on benefit usage to document trends in benefit usage. In particular, these analyses examine the proportion of former service members...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Research on Military-Related Education Benefit Programs
    (pp. 11-12)

    The discussion in the preceding section indicated that many veterans, though far from all of them, use educational assistance programs, and that outlays on these programs are considerable. We now summarize the most rigorous quantitative studies about the impact of these programs on retention, educational attainment, and labor-market outcomes. We found a number of papers on the impact of previous GI Bills on education and labor-market outcomes; but we did not find similarly rigorous studies on the impact of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Given the significant expansion of benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, this dearth of evidence stresses the...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Challenges Facing Policymakers
    (pp. 13-16)

    Policymakers face a number of challenges regarding the efficient provision of effective educational benefits. In particular, the context of higher education for veterans is sufficiently different from previous eras that past research showing positive effects of different GI Bills may provide limited information on the impact of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. These challenges stem from the proliferation of for-profit education institutions, complex benefit options, and rising tuition costs—circumstances that pose several challenges for policymakers and indicate the need for more information regarding the usage and impact of current educational assistance programs.

    Although still a relatively small part of the...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Recommendations for Future Work
    (pp. 17-20)

    The challenges above point toward several related avenues for future research. We focus on research that would ultimately speak to the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of policies funded by DoD and VA. With these two aspects in mind, we outline strategies to gather the appropriate data for assessing the effects of education benefits on outcomes, the impact analyses that these data should be used for, and cost-effective strategies to improve the efficiency of existing education benefit programs.

    The first step that should be taken to help inform policymakers’ decisions about veterans’ educational benefits is to improve the collection of data tracking...

  14. CHAPTER SEVEN Conclusion
    (pp. 21-22)

    The rapid implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the changing landscape of higher education have raised several challenges for policymakers in terms of tracking veteran outcomes, program outreach, and evaluation. Rigorous research on earlier GI Bills had a substantial influence on policy. Changes in the higher educational context, reductions in force size, and federal budget cuts underscore the need for new research on veterans’ educational benefits. Much of the data necessary to complete this research exists in disparate forms, but needs to be linked across databases and analyzed rigorously.

    This report outlined the key issues facing policymakers as well...

  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 23-26)