ERIC Number: EJ990349
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jan-7
Veterans Tell Elite Colleges: "We Belong"
Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan 2013
About 16 percent of veterans use the GI Bill to attend private institutions, roughly the same proportion as students generally. But at the most highly selective colleges, veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill barely fill a single classroom--38 at Penn, 22 at Cornell, and at Princeton, just one. The sparse numbers do not go unnoticed, veterans say. Leaders of such institutions, meantime, are wrestling with how actively they should or could recruit veterans to their campuses. After World War II, roughly two million veterans went to college on the original GI Bill, which was credited with democratizing higher education in the United States. More than half of them attended private institutions. On some campuses, veterans accounted for the majority of students. Of course, times were different then: A far broader portion of the population had served in the military, and enrollment in higher education was considerably lower. Now veterans are a much smaller slice of the student demographic, representing about 3 percent of undergraduates. Decades ago, some educators wondered about veterans' place at elite colleges. In the 1940s, the president of Harvard, James Bryant Conant--who himself had served in World War I--warned that the GI Bill might result in "the least capable among the war generation ... flooding the facilities for advanced education." He later recanted and spoke glowingly of the federal program. But even now the question lingers: In the collegiate landscape, where do veterans belong? James Wright, president emeritus of Dartmouth College and author of "Those Who Have Borne the Battle: A History of America's Wars and Those Who Fought Them," is disappointed that the Ivy League in particular has not taken a stronger lead in recruiting veterans. Elite colleges, he argues, should view veterans no differently than they do prospective students from other underrepresented groups. The GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program are meant to give veterans the financial means to go to the best institutions they can get into.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Campuses, Veterans, War, Federal Programs, Females, Disproportionate Representation, Enrollment, Institutions, Reputation, Selective Admission, Institutional Characteristics, Educational Attitudes, Access to Education, Federal Legislation, Educational Opportunities, Student Financial Aid
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: G I Bill