Race and Ethnicity Matters: Heterogeneous Effects of the Post-9/11 GI Bill on Veterans' College Enrollments
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The Post-9/11 GI Bill provided an unprecedented educational benefits package for active duty veterans. However, the initial increase in GI bill claims was met with confusion and delayed payments. Greater education benefits lead to greater program participation and thus increased college enrollments. Although research has shown that participation overall has increased, as a result of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, participation across racial groups has been largely overlooked. This study extends the current literature by estimating the impact of the Post-9/11 GI Bill on college enrollments among veterans well beyond its initial implementation in 2009 and examines the heterogeneous effects on African American and Hispanic veterans.
The results suggest that the Post-9/11 GI Bill increased the likelihood of college enrollment by 4 percentage points among veterans. A triple-differences model was used to evaluate the heterogeneous effect of the Post-9/11 GI Bill on African American and Hispanic veterans. The Post-9/11 GI Bill is shown to have a larger effect on African American veterans relative to White veterans. The Post-9/11 GI Bill increased the likelihood of college enrollment for African American veterans 4.3 percentage points greater than White veterans. A $10,000 increase in veterans’ education benefits increased the likelihood of college enrollment for African American and Hispanic veterans by 8 and 7 percentage points respectively. This research demonstrates that the increased generosity of veterans’ education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill disproportionately increased college enrollments for African-American veterans relative to White veterans but not Hispanic veterans relative to White veterans. These results further suggest that military service and veterans’ education benefits play a positive role in the efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in higher education between African-Americans and Whites.