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Reviewed April 22, 2014

Characteristics of Student Veterans

"Student Veterans" includes active-duty service members, reservists, members of the National Guard, and veterans.

Background Information

  • The number of Student Veterans on campus is growing.
    • In 2009, there were approximately 500,000 student Veterans and beneficiaries receiving education benefits. In 2013, there were over 1,000,000.
  • Most institutions of higher education serve Student Veterans.
    • 96% of all post-secondary institutions enroll Student Veterans.
    • 82% have a designated point of contact.
  • Student Veterans are pursuing different degrees and educational experiences.
    • 79.2% are enrolled in public institutions.
    • Popular degrees include: business, public service, health, science, and engineering
    • IMPORTANT: 51.7% of Student Veterans successfully complete their degree/certificate within 4 to 5 years, a rate similar to other students.

Student Characteristics

  • 73% of Student Veterans are male; 27% are female.
    • With only 10-12% of military personnel being women, female student veterans are over represented in postsecondary education.
  • 62% of Student Veterans are first generation students.
  • Student Veterans are non-traditional students.
    • Only 15% of Student Veterans are traditionally aged college students (18-23). Most are between the ages of 24 and 40.
  • Many Student Veterans have families.
    • 47% of Student Veterans have children.
    • 47.3% of Student Veterans are married.


References

Cate, C.A. (March, 2014). Million Records Project: Research from Student Veterans of America. Student Veterans of America, Washington, DC.

Queen, B., & Lewis, L. (February, 2014). Services and support programs for military service members and veterans at postsecondary institutions, 2012-2013. U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

Radford, W.W. & Wun, J. (April, 2009). A profile of military Service Members and Veterans enrolled in postsecondary education in 2007-2008. U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

Steele, J.L., Salcedo, N., & Coley, J. (November, 2010). Service members in school: Military Veterans’ Experiences using the Post 9/11 GI Bill and Pursuing Postsecondary Education. RAND Corporation and the American Council on Education. .