Higher education institutions are crucial in helping veterans transition from military service to civilian life. With the unique challenges that veterans face, it is imperative that colleges and universities provide the necessary support for their academic and personal success. Ultimately, supporting veterans' matriculation through their educational pathway improves many enrollment issues facing higher education institutions today.
Veteran-Friendly Policies and Services
According to a study conducted by the American Council on Education (ACE), institutions with dedicated veteran support offices or centers are better equipped to meet the needs of veteran students (ACE, 2019).
Flexible Academic Programs
Veterans often have unique scheduling and academic needs. Flexible academic programs, such as online courses or evening classes, can help veterans balance their studies with work and family obligations. A report by the Student Veterans of America (SVA) found that colleges offering flexible course options had higher veteran graduation rates (SVA, 2018).
Financial Assistance and Scholarships
Many veterans face financial challenges when transitioning to higher education. Institutions can offer financial assistance and scholarships tailored to veterans to ease this burden. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that the GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program are essential sources of financial support for veteran students (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2021).
Mental Health and Counseling Services
Veterans may experience unique mental health challenges related to their military service. It is crucial for colleges and universities to provide mental health and counseling services that understand and address these needs. According to a study published in the Journal of American College Health, veterans utilizing mental health services are more likely to persist in their studies (Martin et al., 2017).
Peer Support and Veteran Communities
Creating a sense of community is vital for veteran success in higher education. Institutions should establish peer support groups and veteran communities, fostering a sense of belonging. Research by the RAND Corporation found that veterans who engage with peer support groups have a higher probability of completing their degrees (RAND Corporation, 2015).
Supporting veteran success in higher education is a moral and strategic imperative. The data and research indicate that colleges and universities can make a significant difference in the lives of veteran students through veteran-friendly policies, flexible academic programs, financial assistance, mental health services, and peer support. By implementing these measures, institutions can help veterans successfully transition to civilian life while achieving their educational goals.
American Council on Education. (2019). From Soldier to Student II: Assessing Campus Programs for Veterans and Service Members. https://www.acenet.edu/Documents/From-Soldier-to-Student-II.pdf
Student Veterans of America. (2018). National Veteran Education Success Tracker (NVEST) 2018. https://nvest.sva.org/
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2021). Education and Training - GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program. https://www.va.gov/education/about-gi-bill-benefits/post-9-11/
Martin, J. A., et al. (2017). Effects of Counseling and Mental Health Services for Veterans Enrolled in a Higher Education Institution. Journal of American College Health, 65(7), 472-479.
RAND Corporation. (2015). Veterans in Higher Education: When and Why They Enroll. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1262.html