The New GI Bill of Rights
The Korean War did not affect life on campus as much as the two previous conflicts had. There was no massive drop in enrollment or establishment of student military detachments. The Korean War is often called a “forgotten war,” but those veterans who came to Oshkosh State College after their service left an unforgettable impact on the college. Between the years 1953 and 1958, the college saw a 155% increase in enrollment, a large number of them veterans. OSC’s relationship with the Korean vets differed due to the Veterans’ Adjustment Act of 1952.
The new G.I. Bill of Rights sought to simplify how veteran’s education was financed. No longer would the federal government and the Board of Regents negotiate fees, supplies, and other issues. Instead, the veteran received a flat stipend of $110 to pay for his tuition, fees, and supplies. Vets could receive these payments for one-and-a-half times their length of service, or up to 36 months. The changes allowed the government to cut costs, and many veterans saw the direct stipend as an improvement over what their predecessors had been given.
Fred Caudle, by now an expert in veteran benefits, saw the bill as an advantage for Oshkosh State College as well, because “the bill [put] the smaller schools on the same support level as the larger universities.” Caudle observed that a veteran’s money could go much further at smaller schools like OSC.
Unlike after WWII, the VA did not establish veterans’ services offices with the college. Rather, they provided for a County Service Officer located at the county seat. This individual was responsible for educating and processing the veterans’ benefits. Still, the college provided its own veterans’ advisor to assist with choosing classes and majors and still maintained its veterans’ bulletin board to keep the men up to date on the latest government releases or other germane news. By this point the college had its own counseling and health service programs to help all students, which veterans took advantage of for a small fee.