March 1, 2003

Closing the Gap or Widening the Divide: The Effects of the G.I. Bill and World War II on the Educational Outcomes of Black Americans

Volume 63, Issue 1, p. 145-177
John Bound

The effects of the G.I. Bill on collegiate attainment may have differed for black and white Americans owing to differential returns to education and differences in opportunities at colleges and universities, with men in the South facing explicitly segregated colleges. The empirical evidence suggests that World War II and the availability of G.I. benefits had a substantial and positive impact on the educational attainment of white men and black men born outside the South. However, for those black veterans likely to be limited to the South in their educational choices, the G.I. Bill had little effect on collegiate outcomes, resulting in the exacerbation of the educational differences between black and white men from southern states.