Despite the Promise of More Money for Higher Education, There Has Been a Huge Drop in Black Army Recruits

In the past, many young African Americans saw service in the U.S. military as a good opportunity to secure money to finance their higher education. But the war in Iraq has resulted in a huge drop-off in black recruits since 2000. The Army, which bears the brunt of the fighting in Iraq, has seen black recruits drop from 41,185 in 2000 to 17,399 in 2005, the latest year for which data is available. This is a huge decline of nearly 58 percent. During the same period, the number of white recruits dropped by 10 percent.

In response, the Army has instituted an aggressive new marketing campaign targeted at young African Americans. Bonuses are offered to new recruits and the amount of money available for college tuition after Army service has been increased.