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World War II veteran Don Balfour registering for classes under the G.I. Bill, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., photograph 1944

Although millions of returned soldiers utilized the G.I. Bill, not all eligible Americans benefitted. The G.I. Bill did not bar women or African Americans from its benefits, but discriminatory practices in implementing the legislation often excluded these groups of veterans.

George Washington University

World War II veteran Don Balfour registering for classes under the G.I. Bill

Establishing the G.I. Bill of Rights

After its unanimous approval by the House and Senate, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill of Rights into law on June 22, 1944. The legislation provided returning soldiers with unemployment insurance, money for post-secondary education and job training, and low-interest mortgages and loans to ease their transition into civilian life. By 1951 nearly 8 million veterans had received educational and training benefits, and 2.4 million had received loans for homes, farms, and businesses. Subsequent legislation would extend benefits to all who served in later conflicts.

This measure has for its purpose extending full justice and educational opportunities to the veterans of this war who have defended the Republic with their life and blood.

Representative Karl M. Le Compte of Iowa, Speech to the U.S. House of Representatives, May 12, 1944