Examining the impact of veteran-centric support on academic success, retention, and degree completion of students utilizing post-9/11 GI Bill at a public university



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During the post-war period, American higher education experiences exponential growth in veteran enrollment. As post-9/11 GI Bill is the most utilized VA education benefits, the U.S. Dept. of VA spends billions of dollars annually on the GI Bill. Yet, veterans’ retention and degree completions are much lower compared to other nontraditional students at public universities. This qualitative study explored the lived experiences of veteran students. A descriptive phenomenological approach used to understand the challenges and barriers veteran students encounter as they transition into academia and the impact of veteran-centric support services have on the students’ overall academic success, retention, and degree completion goals. A purposeful sample of eleven diverse veteran students participated in semi-structured interviews. The questions were guided by Schlossberg’s Transition Theory and the 4S Model found mixed perceptions of the veteran support offered on campus. All participants emphasized the importance of having veteran-centric support services on campus with more visibility and more resources, especially for graduate-level students. Data analysis found that 55% of participants perceived veteran support office to have a positive influence on their overall academic success, retention, and degree completion goals in terms of GI Bill process.



veteran students, academic success, retention, degree completion, veteran-centric support, Schlossberg’s Transition Theory, the 4S model, descriptive phenomenological qualitative study,