The New GI Bill:

Potential Impact of Ending It Early

NSIAD-86-80BR: Published: Mar 25, 1986. Publicly Released: Mar 25, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO evaluated Department of Defense (DOD) plans to terminate the new GI Bill and revert to the Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) to determine: (1) the costs involved in terminating the basic benefits of the new GI Bill and resuming VEAP; (2) the difference in program costs resulting from returning to VEAP on October 1, 1986, as opposed to July 1, 1988; and (3) the estimates of the recruiting and retention impacts of this decision.

GAO found that: (1) military services' estimates indicated that it would cost about $5.4 million to revert back to VEAP; (2) the estimated savings in returning to VEAP in October, 1986, did not include new GI Bill entitlements to people in the delayed entry program in September, 1986, which would result in $194 million in savings rather than the $230 million contained in the fiscal year 1987 budget; (3) because the government pays a larger share of the new GI Bill education costs than does VEAP, a comparison between the two would always show the GI Bill to be more costly when the number of people using the new GI Bill is at least as great as the number who use VEAP; (4) while the potential impact of the new GI Bill on recruiting cannot be conclusively determined, statistics show improvements in enlistment, reenlistment, and extensions since the start of the new GI Bill; (5) military service program managers believe that a return to VEAP could have a negative effect on the services' ability to attract recruits; (6) participation is higher under the new GI Bill than under VEAP programs; and (7) additional analytical work is needed to estimate the impact of terminating the new GI Bill and returning to VEAP.

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