How did the Cold War affect higher education?  

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The Cold War affected higher education in that more GI's who were drafted were eligible for the GI Bill after they completed their term of service. This created a steady stream of veterans into the university system and helped to make college more affordable for more Americans. Also, the Vietnam...

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The Cold War affected higher education in that more GI's who were drafted were eligible for the GI Bill after they completed their term of service. This created a steady stream of veterans into the university system and helped to make college more affordable for more Americans. Also, the Vietnam War led to more upper-class students going to school and staying there in the hopes of getting student deferments to avoid going to Vietnam.

The Cold War led to more visible ROTC programs for universities, as it was assumed that the universities would create the United States' officer class. This sometimes led to tension within the ranks. Universities began to clamp down on any academia which was deemed "leftist," and many conservatives saw the university system as a hotbed of leftist thought. The Cold War also led to more students studying science and math in the hopes of leading the United States in the Space Race against the Soviet Union. Not all of the newfound knowledge led directly to space travel; a lot of work in computing and electronics spread to the consumer sector as well.

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There are several ways in which the Cold War affected higher education. The first and most radical change was actually the GI Bill of 1944, which funded soldiers returning from World War II to go to college. This meant a massive influx of people into higher education, often of diverse backgrounds, who were older and often less well off than traditional students of the period. This was combined with the "Sputnik moment," in which the United States was afraid that it was losing the "space race" to the Soviet Union and poured massive amounts of money into education and research to regain its technological advantage. These two factors fueled a massive expansion of higher education in the United States.

On the negative side, fears about communism led to stifling of free speech and restriction of civil liberties on campus and elsewhere.

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There are at least two ways in which the Cold War affected higher education.

First, the McCarthyism of the early 1950s affected higher education by making it important for professors to watch what they said in class or in their writings.  Professors were watched closely to ensure that they were not saying things that would be construed as promoting communism.  In this way, the Cold War diminished academic freedom.

Second, the alarm that was caused by Sputnik led to increased funding for education, particularly in the sciences.  This increased funding helped to expand the numbers of programs that institutions of higher learning could offer.  In this way, the Cold War helped higher education by increasing the federal funds available to universities.

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