Print This Page
VA Campus Toolkit Handout banner with a dark blue gradient background containing logos for Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership Initiative, the National Center for PTSD and Veterans Affairs.

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.


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. .