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Veterans Succeed with Adequate Support

Veteran students are far more likely to succeed in degree programs when necessary support services are present, according to a study published last week.

The report, titled “Completing the Mission II: A Study of Veteran Students’ Progress Toward Degree Attainment in the Post-9/11 Era,” sheds light on the hurdles veteran students face en route to a certification.

According to the study, veteran students yielded a higher persistence rate (97 percent) than their traditional-aged peers (65.7 percent). In other words, dropout rates are significantly lower for veterans than 18 to 22 year old students. The report also notes that veteran students are more successful in their studies today than they were three years ago, achieving an approximately 20 percent higher success rate on courses than they did in 2010-2011.

The report authors point to the increased focus on retention efforts by government bodies, postsecondary education associations and institutions themselves as a reason for this success. Additionally, the authors argue earning a postsecondary credential is central to veteran participation in the workforce following their military career.

“Veterans who remain in school not only gain college credit but also receive a transitional mechanism for their next mission—success in civilian life,” states the report.

One of the other reasons judged to be behind the improvement was the availability of services. While many institutions in the study maintain a variety of support programs to help veteran students, they differ from campus to campus. However, the report found that most institutions have a dedicated onsite coordinator responsible for assisting veteran students with the enrollment process and providing academic advising services.

Another common denominator among services offered is allowing more transfer credits for veteran students, making it easier for them to transition between institutions and to earn recognition for their prior learning.

“More and more campuses are focusing on flexibility in their review and assessment of military transfer credit,” states the report.