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ERIC Number: EJ1022936
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-1383
Helping Student Servicemembers and Veterans Succeed
Callahan, Ron; Jarrat, Dave
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v46 n2 p36-41 2014
Hundreds of thousands of current and former service members enter college each year, and their ranks are expected to swell as several major US military engagements overseas wind down. This article presents the following questions: (1) What is the overall success rate for student service members and veterans attending US colleges and universities; and (2) What can be done to improve their chances for success? According to the authors, the answer to the first questions is that no one knows, but a number of organizations are working to find out. The answer to the second is that there are a number of promising practices, most of which address the service member-to student transition. The article considers whether or not $11 billion spent to send 1.3 million beneficiaries to college is worth it, and states that it is another question open to debate. In July 2012, and the Huffington Post published a controversial article stating that 88 percent of veterans drop out of college within the first year, and only 3 percent graduate. That article cited data from a workforce-development council report in Colorado that has been widely criticized and is no longer available online. Unfortunately, the statistics have lived on and have shaped many individuals' perceptions about student service members' and veterans' success. One of the organizations trying to revise those perceptions is Student Veterans of America (SVA), a grass-roots student organization dedicated to providing military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education. In January 2013, SVA announced a partnership with the VA and the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), a research center that tracks students through the post secondary system. Their goal is to create an education-completion database for Post-9/11 and Montgomery GI Bill beneficiaries. Under the agreement, the VA will provide the NSC with information on up to one million beneficiaries. The NSC will then match the beneficiaries against their database to determine how many veterans have graduated or completed a training program. In November 2013, Google awarded a $3.2 million grant to SVA, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Posse Foundation, and Veterans of Foreign Wars to support data analysis of US veterans' higher education. Meanwhile, SVA is using other data to combat the perception that current and former service members fare poorly in higher education. For example, according to data compiled from the 2010 National Survey of Veterans, over 66 percent of those who used VA education benefits completed a degree, certificate, or training program, and 73 percent of those veterans cited the benefits as important in meeting their educational goals or preparing them to get a better job. A great deal of attention is being paid to enhancing the experiences and educational outcomes of student veterans and active-duty military students. Ron Callahan and Dave Jarrat write in this article that, unfortunately, the data available to support these important activities, both at the institutional and national level, remains limited. The authors support the idea that real progress will require not only an effective system for collecting and analyzing data across institutions but also better systems at the institutional level to identify students with military experience, track their success in a disaggregated fashion, assess their potential obstacles, and measure the effectiveness of various interventions. The article concludes by saying that this data can drive institutional behavior in ways that should enhance the success of military-background students. Coordination across functional boundaries however, will be an important requirement for success.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: G I Bill