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    On June 22, 1944, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Servicemen's Readjustment Act, also known as the G.I. Bill of Rights. The legislation quickly became known as the G.I. Bill. The G.I. Bill expanded services and benefits to military veterans.
     
    G.I. generally means “government issue,” and refers to members of the Army and Air Force, and, increasingly, the Navy and Marines. To qualify for the G.I. Bill, a veteran had to have been on active duty for at least 90 days during World War II.
     
    The G.I. Bill included provisions for unemployment insurance, low-cost mortgages, and business loans. However, the most famous and long-lasting provision of the bill was the generous tuition grants to pay for college or job training. 
     
    The G.I. Bill radically changed social hierarchy in the U.S. The legislation made upward mobility possible for millions of lower middle-class, rural, and African American veterans. By the time the original G.I. Bill ended in 1956, 7.8 million of 16 million World War II veterans had participated in an education or training program.
     
    Some famous recipients of the G.I. Bill include musician and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte (a Navy veteran who used the bill to attend the New School in New York); former U.S. Senator Bob Dole (an Army veteran who used the bill to attend law school at Washburn University in Kansas); Catch-22 author Joseph Heller (an Army Air Corps veteran who attended the University of Southern California and New York University); and former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist (an Air Force veteran who attended Stanford University in California).
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    active duty Noun

    full-time military service.

    affordable Adjective

    reasonably priced, not expensive.

    civil rights Plural Noun

    set of fundamental freedoms guaranteed to all individuals, such as participation in the political system, ability to own property, and due process and equal protection under the law.

    enroll Verb

    to enter or participate.

    expand Verb

    to grow or get larger.

    generous Adjective

    having a giving or useful nature.

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    grant Noun

    money given to a person or group of people to carry out a specific project or program.

    hierarchy Noun

    social system that organizes by ranks or titles, or the highest-ranking leaders of this group.

    higher education Noun

    education provided beyond high school, such as college, university, or professional school.

    insurance Noun

    money paid in good health to guarantee financial or physical health if injury or damage occurs.

    intuition Noun

    insight or perception.

    legislation Noun

    law, legal act, or statute.

    military Noun

    armed forces.

    mortgage Noun

    legal agreement in which a person borrows money to buy property and the lender may take possession of the property if the borrower fails to repay the money.

    participate Verb

    to take part in an activity.

    provision Noun

    clause or part of a legal document.

    radically Adverb

    completely or extremely.

    recipient Noun

    person or organization that receives something.

    rural Adjective

    having to do with country life, or areas with few residents.

    Supreme Court Noun

    highest judicial authority on issues of national or constitutional importance in the U.S.

    unemployment Noun

    state of not having a job.

    upward mobility Noun

    movement from a lower social class to a higher one, through income or job type.

    veteran Noun

    person who has served their country in a military capacity.

    World War II Noun

    (1939-1945) armed conflict between the Allies (represented by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union) and the Axis (represented by Germany, Italy, and Japan.)