This study examines the effect of government-provided education benefits on military enlistment and reenlistment during the global war on terror. Conceptually, education benefits are viewed as a form of military compensation and a way to cover the direct costs associated with a college degree. Because a college degree increases the earnings one can receive in the civilian sector, education benefits are expected to increase the utility of both the military and the civilian sector. The hypothesis is that education benefits lead to an increase in the likelihood of enlistment and a decrease in the likelihood of reenlistment. According to past literature, this relationship holds, but is outdated. This study seeks to update these results and make them generalizable to the global war on terror and the Post-9/11 GI Bill. It does so by testing the hypotheses using fixed effects regressions on annual state recruitment and retention levels. In addition, the models are estimated for the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill to distinguish between the effects of different programs. The results indicate that education benefits have no significant effect on recruitment and a positive effect on retention, or the level of personnel. The Montgomery GI Bill had the greatest impact with an increase in retention per 1,000 population 18-30 years of age by 11.44 personnel, while the Post-9/11 GI Bill had no significant impact.


Burnell, Barbara




American Politics | Education Policy | Labor Economics | Military and Veterans Studies


Post-9/11 GI Bill, education benefits, military, enlistment, reenlistment, Global War on Terror

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2017 Kimberly L. McKee