By the year 2020, over 5 million service members are expected to transition out of the military. As of 2017, there are approximately 800,00 student veterans, which equals roughly 4% of undergraduate students. This increasing wave of veteran enrollments into school is largely due to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) eliminating the 10-year expiration date for the Post 9/11 GI bill. This change has allowed veterans whose benefits have expired, to enroll in school, or transfer the benefits to their dependents or spouse.
With this rising statistic, Veteran’s Engagement programs have begun to spread rapidly through college and university campuses across the world. Successful schools have worked to implement student support programs that address common obstacles to veteran student success. If used properly the successes of the student veteran will gain the attention of the Department of Veterans Affairs and other influential groups. among veteran-friendly organizations. Schools who have invested in programs have seen the following benefits:
- Increased veteran enrollment. The University of Maryland University College increased US enrollment by 10% by offering veteran friendly programs, personalized student support services, and streamlining desired courses online.
- Guaranteed funding. Under the Yellow Ribbon Program for in-state schools all tuitions and fees are paid directly to the school, private schools are paid at the tuition rate of up to $23,671.94 also paid directly to school. Books and supplies are also covered.
- National ranking for yellow ribbon school list that veterans can access while searching for schools. In their third year of operation, Auburn University’s, Veteran and Transfer Student Resource Center helped place AU within G.I. jobs magazine’s list of top 15 percent of the country’s schools that deliver the best experience for military students.
Research has also shown schools that have created successful corporate partnerships create impacting relationships, internships, and jobs post-graduation have been particularly successful with veterans. This is particularly important because the average age is 25 years old, with 44% who are married, and 52% who have children. Corporate sponsorships offering internships and jobs are highly intriguing factor in student veterans. Other deciding factors veterans look for in choosing schools are: fields of study, support services, class size, and course convenience.
Schools wishing to implement, or improve, Veteran’s programs should engage their stakeholders to gain buy-in and decide which areas of support are critical for their overall student population and campus culture. Examples of stakeholder groups are Veterans, Student Support Services, Faculty, University Administration, Veteran Serving Organizations (local and national), corporate partners, community partners and others who may play a role in the success of these programs. Once this engagement process is complete, the school should make key decisions about making investments, gathering baseline data, specifying roles and responsibilities, developing a shared vision of success (including metrics) and determining methods for tracking actions versus impact.
To discuss this topic further, please visit A-G’s website at www.a-gassociates .com or contact Chris Gonzalez, PMP at firstname.lastname@example.org