"What should you have to sacrifice to get a college education in the United States? Isn't it hard enough to get good grades and high SAT scores? Should you have to risk your life as well?"A good question. My father used his GI Bill benefits to help pay for his college education. Benefits earned, in part, during six months of front-line combat in some of the bloodiest days of the Korean War. He also bears the scars and permanent, partial disability of five combat wounds.
"And as the cost of attending college rises, the financial benefits of enlistment in the U.S. military may entice potential recruits.Educational benefits have long been used to attract recruits. They also help to offset the low pay that military members are willing to accept in exchange for the honor and privilege of serving their nation. Shulman says it's "hard to make a good living" without a college education. It's also "hard to make a good living" without determination, initiative, hard work, and personal responsibility. Not coincidentally those are also necessary to achieve a good education. Just ask my father about that.
Certainly, the numbers are clear about the value of college. Without a college education, it is hard to make a good living in America today. Yet the cost of college has priced many young men and women out of the market. It is no accident that military recruiters are out scouring America's working-class suburbs, offering enlistment bonuses to high school graduates. A promise of college tuition is very enticing to teens whose parents just don't have much money."
"America needs to find ways to guarantee college for everyone, whether they become soldiers or not. ... If we believe in equal opportunity in America, we need to ensure other options. ... We need to ensure that all high school students who qualify for college can go, regardless of their family financial status."What? Guaranteed college for everyone is a constitutional right? That clause is missing from my copy. (Along with the "right to privacy" that makes abortion a right.) Guess what, Beth. America has "found ways" to guarantee college for everyone. America does "ensure other options." You can apply for financial aid, you can apply for the thousands upon thousands of scholarships available, you can serve in the military and take advantage of tuition assistance and the GI Bill, you can - hold on to your hats folks - get a job and pay your own way. (Gasp!) There's a novel concept.
"With these large payoffs from college, the military enlistment bonuses seem like a lifeline for high school graduates who otherwise couldn't afford to go to college. Yet do we really want a society in which the only way for young men and women to afford the cost of a college education is to agree to risk their lives?"As I pointed out there are other ways to pay for college besides what Shulman refers to as the "lifeline" of military service. And in answer to her rhetorical question, no, what we want is a society that is so noble and right that good men and women are willing and eager to devote their lives, and even give their lives, to ensure that this society continues. Thank God, that is what we have.
"Certainly, many young men and women enlist today out of a patriotic desire to serve their country. But for others, signing up for America's armed forces may be the only way they see to get the money they need for a college education and for the future good job it will make possible."I'm happy to see Ms. Shulman make at least passing deference to the primary reason that most of the military people I know serve. Patriotism. A love of their country, flowing from a belief in, and devotion to, the principles on which she was founded. Patton said, "The highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one's country." For me, that sums up the primary motivation for military service. It is an obligation that I owe for the many opportunities and liberties that life in this country affords me. It is a privilege that I am worthy to bear the responsibility of ensuring that those opportunities and liberty continue for myself, for my children and for future generations. What it is not is "a way to get money for a college education." I realize many view it as nothing more than that. This is obvious by the number of spineless individuals in the military who suddenly and mysteriously become "conscientious objectors" whenever the winds of war begin to blow. Anyone who joins the military out of a need or desire to get money for college is misguided and makes a serious mistake.
"Although the demand for a college education has increased as its potential returns have soared, Kane shows that the increase in U.S. college attendance was disproportionately among wealthier individuals. Over the past two decades, the richest quarter of Americans increased their college enrollment by 12 percent, while those at the bottom rose by only 5 percent, expanding an already large enrollment gap."So, all these poor, underprivileged kids are enlisting to get money for college, yet college enrollment in this group has risen a mere 5 percent? Somebody needs to tell these kids to find another way to get money for college.
Retired from the US Air Force after more than 20 years of service. Now working as a contractor for various government agencies.