1966 - LBJ Wants Your GPA

In March 1966, the Director of Selective Service Lewis B. Hershey announced the reintroduction of the Selective Service Qualification Test (SSQT), administration of which had been suspended since 1963, as a means of determining eligibility for student deferments. Since monthly draft calls were increasing due to America's escalating involvement in the Vietnam War, the test would ease the work of the local draft boards in determining whether a student could be eligible for a deferment or not. Since the previous criteria of satisfactory progress remained in effect, a student could either be deferred through class standing, his score on the SSQT, or both. A scheme to implement a sliding scale that decreased the class-standing criteria but increased the passing SSQT score for a student deferment as the student progressed in his college career had been proposed in 1953, but rejected; elements of it were adopted in 1966.

The test contained questions in reading comprehension, mathematics, logic, and vocabulary, of the best-answer type. For the new testing cycle, the passing mark was set at 70 for undergraduate students, and 80 for graduate students. The class-standing requirements were revised so that a first-year student needed to be in the upper half of his class, a second-year student in the upper two-thirds of his class, a third-year student in the upper three-fourths of his class, and a fourth-year student planning to continue on to graduate school in the upper one-fourth of his class.

The test was given on nine dates in 1966 and 1967. It was not mandatory, but students (implicitly those with a poorer class standing) were encouraged to take it. College freshmen were the largest group who elected to take the test, followed in order by college sophomores, juniors, seniors, and high school seniors.

  1. Saturday May 14, 1966
  2. Saturday May 21, 1966
  3. Friday June 3, 1966
  4. Friday June 24, 1966
  5. Friday November 18, 1966
  6. Saturday November 19, 1966
  7. Friday March 3, 1967
  8. Friday March 31, 1967
  9. Saturday April 8, 1967

The sequence of selecting eligible registrants for induction in 1966 remained the same as it did post-August 26, 1965;

  1. Delinquents who have attained the age of nineteen years in the order of their dates of birth with the oldest being selected first.
  2. Volunteers who have not attained the age of twenty-six years and in the sequence in which they have volunteered for induction.
  3. Nonvolunteers who who have attained the age of nineteen years and have not attained the age of twenty-six years and who (A) do not have a wife with whom they maintain a bona fide family relationship in their homes in the order of their dates of birth, with the oldest being selected first; or (B) have a wife with whom they married after August 26, 1965, and with whom they maintain a bona fide family relationship in their homes in the order of their dates of birth with the oldest being selected first.
  4. Nonvolunteers who have attained the age of nineteen years and have not attained the age of twenty-six years and who have a wife whom they married on or before August 26, 1965, and with whom they maintain a bona fide family relationship in their homes, in the order of their dates of birth, with the oldest being selected first.
  5. Nonvolunteers who have attained the age of twenty-six years in the order of their dates of birth, with the youngest being selected first.
  6. Nonvolunteers who have attained the age of eighteen years and six months and who have not attained the age of nineteen years in the order of their dates of birth, with the oldest being selected first.
Table 6: Accessions by Mental Group, Entry Mode, and Service Branch, 1966 Table 7: A Comparison of Enlistees and Draftees by Educational Attainment

The United States military during the Vietnam War was the best-educated military in history up to that point. In 1965, 41.3% of voluntary enlistees and 53.0% of draftees had graduated from high school, in comparison to forty-nine percent of the entire U.S. population in 1965. A further 19.7% percent of enlistees and three percent of draftees had been awarded a General Equivalency Degree (GED). Enlistees were generally smarter (more trainable) and younger than draftees, scoring higher on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). 

1966 - LBJ Wants Your GPA