Costs of college education are rising as rapidly as educational expectations. Yet our search for ways to finance higher education in no way matches the growing determination that all who desire a higher education shall have one. As an instance of our failure, we have forgotten our experience with the GI Bill, a remarkable experiment in federally financed education for large numbers of people. The GI program was simple enough. All a veteran had to do was secure admission to the college of his choice. He then received a grant for tuition, fees, and books and a monthly allotment to live on. There were none of the entanglements that go with today’s proposals for federal aid. For example, the old bugbear about aid to religious institutions just evaporated since the money went to the individual.
Something on the order of the GI Bill for all students would be a boon to hard-pressed parents. Sydney Margolius surveyed 1964-65 costs at 700 colleges and universities for his advice...
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