More than half of the veterans who used their GI Bill benefits ultimately graduated,
although it took many longer than traditional students.
A study conducted by the Student Veterans of America (SVA) found that 51.7 percent
of veterans using their GI Bill benefits between 2002 and 2010 earned a post-secondary
degree or certificate. That’s slightly lower than traditional college students at
59 percent in 2011.
"Americans have invested substantial dollars in giving our veterans an opportunity
to further their education and this report shows many positive signs that they are
doing just that," says Wayne Robinson, SVA president and CEO. "The majority of student
veterans accessing their GI Bill benefits are completing degrees and showing unparalleled
determination to do so, despite many unique barriers. A single deployment can interrupt
a student veteran's education for at least 9 to 13 months, but they're returning to
the classroom and completing."
The study is the first to measure the success of post-9/11 student veterans.
Among the study's findings: Although many take longer than traditional students to
graduate, most student veterans complete their initial studies and often earn additional
higher level degrees as well. Their delayed completion is due in large part to the unique challenges facing student veterans, including
age differences, putting their studies on hold to serve in the military, deployments,
full-time work schedules and family commitments.
SVA partnered with Veterans Affairs and the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) to
match two sets of data: a randomly selected sample of nearly 1 million Montgomery
and Post-9/11 GI Bill veteran education beneficiary records from 2002 to 2010, and
U.S. student postsecondary enrollment and completion records collected by the NSC.
A total of 788,915 records were analyzed, representing about 22 percent of the student
veteran population receiving GI Bill benefits for that period.
The report shows the majority of students complete a bachelor's degree within four to six years
and associate degrees within four years. Many of these veterans did not follow the path of traditional
college students. Some enrolled in college after high school graduation, withdrew
to join the military, then re-enrolled after military service. Other veterans enrolled
in postsecondary institutions after they completed their military service; still others
earned college credit before, during and after military service but may have needed to repeat some coursework
that was lost due to deployments.