Published on 2012/12/07

Veterans Remain on the Fringes of Colleges and Universities

In the wake of the announcement of a new memorandum of understanding from the Department of Defense for institutions that want to participate in military tuition assistance, a report was released by NASPA, an association of student affairs administrators, and InsideTrack detailing the lack of understanding most institutions have about their veteran students.

The report found that approximately 68 percent of colleges and universities do not specify the retention and completion statistics for their undergraduate veterans. Moreover, 90 percent of institutions do not know what the first-year retention rate for their veteran students is.

While the data may be behind the times, the majority of institutions do have specialized student services in place for veterans and, according to the report, understand that there is a need for such specialized data collection. This is especially important given that there are nearly two million veterans eligible for military tuition assistance for themselves and their families.

The full results of the report, which surveyed 275 institutions, is still a few months away from being published as they are still developing a more detailed breakdown of the data.

Steve Gonzalez, the assistant director of the American’s Legion’s economic division, told Paul Fain that it is unsurprising so many institutions are behind the times when it comes to serving and understanding active military and veteran students, given that the last decade has seen a greater increase in student veterans than has been experienced since World War II.

“The schools are playing catch-up,” Gonzalez told Fain. “It’s going to take time.”

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