Legislation has been introduced that would stop interest from accruing on government college loans for active-duty soldiers and National Guard members.
The Washington Monthly calls this a “no-brainer,” and it is pretty hard to oppose — but I have to ask: Why are so many of the benefits of military membership restricted to those who attend college? Why, for example, did the college-bound benefit from the immense expenditures of the G.I. Bill, while non–college bound returning vets didn’t?
If you want to increase compensation for members of the military, and especially those on active duty, great. But why not just increase their salaries, and let them decide whether to spend it on college and/or paying off education loans? They’re bright people; they can figure it out.
The only counterargument I can think of is that by compensating college/college-bound students more, you can attract a higher number of smart kids. The same effect could be achieved, however, by giving bonuses to recruits with high AFQT scores.