ERIC Number: EJ1120094
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Best Practices in Student Veteran Education: Making a "Veteran-Friendly" Institution
Dillard, Robert J.; Yu, Helen H.
Journal of Continuing Higher Education, v64 n3 p181-186 2016
With the conclusion of major military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. institutions of higher learning are experiencing an inflow of student veterans on a scale not seen since the conclusion of World War II. In response, a large number of American colleges and universities quickly sought to exploit this glut of new students by arbitrarily labeling themselves "military-friendly" or "veteran-friendly" institutions without taking any tangible steps toward better serving the educational needs of their student veterans. Consequently, student veteran retention rates have been poor, resulting in lost federal and state aid money, a potentially wasted generation of student veterans, and a broken promise from the American people to our service members. However, transforming an underperforming campus from ostensibly veteran-friendly to veteran-friendly-in-practice can be accomplished with minimal expenditure of resources. In August 2013, recognizing the coming challenges associated with a massive new influx of student veterans on college campuses nationwide, the Obama Administration developed "8 Keys to Success: Supporting Veterans, Military, and Military Families on Campus," a list of general steps that institutions of higher education could follow in order to ensure veteran educational success (Baker, 2013). The American Council on Education provides an alternative for defining veteran-friendly institutions, with recommendations mostly centered on best practices for student services. Priority registration, flexible enrollment dates, and making transfer credit policies easier for student veterans are recommended courses of action for student service divisions, while establishing student veteran support groups and designated spaces are also included (Brown & Gross, 2011). Out of these measurements of institutional success, the current study aims to provide an even clearer link between theory and practice in improving institutional quality for veterans' education. The purpose of this article is to provide explicit instructions on how to create a veteran-friendly institution based on the real-world experience of two faculty members at a large state university.
Descriptors: Best Practices, Veterans Education, Higher Education, School Holding Power, Student Needs, Student Characteristics, Student Organizations, Nontraditional Students, Program Development, Well Being, Space Classification, First Year Seminars, School Orientation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A