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Historically among the most cost-effective inducements for recruiting military personnel, the Montgomery GI Bill has helped thousands to serve and pursue a college education following their term. Congress recently has proposed several changes that would bolster the bill’s provisions and hopefully boost recruitment during an era when youth are increasingly choosing college alone. RAND analyzed several of the proposed changes to discover whether they have the ability to meet more fully college’s increasing costs and the extent to which they enhance recruitment and reduce retention. Evaluation of the proposals’ short- and long-term abilities to meet these goals, as well as evaluation of their costs and implications, reveals that many of the recommendations are expensive but hold the promise of attracting and retaining more quality recruits. Other potential program improvements are recommended that could increase the attractiveness of military educational benefits.

This project was conducted in RAND's National Defense Research Institute.

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