Majority of Colleges Offer Services for Veterans, Report Says

July 22, 2009

A majority of colleges provide services specifically for students who are military veterans or members of the armed services, says a new report that was sponsored by six higher-education groups.

The report, which is based on data from 723 institutions, identifies areas where colleges meet the needs of their student veterans and areas where they don't, in preparation for the expected surge this fall in the number of veterans attending college. The Post-9/11 GI Bill, enacted last year, takes effect on August 1, and qualifying veterans will be able to attend many colleges at little or no cost because of the law's expanded education benefits.

Of colleges that have services specifically for veterans, 82 percent offer help in understanding GI benefits, 81 percent award credit for military training, and 79 percent have an established refund policy for service members who are called to active duty in the middle of a semester, the report says.

But only 40 percent of colleges with veterans' services train faculty and staff members in how to better assist veterans, 32 percent have clubs or organizations for their student veterans, and 22 percent help veterans make the transition from the battlefield to the classroom.

The report also says that three-fourths of public four-year colleges and two-thirds of public two-year colleges provide services specifically for student veterans and service members, compared with about one-third of nonprofit private colleges.

The report was sponsored by the American Council on Education, the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Naspa—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the National Association of Veterans' Program Administrators, and the Lumina Foundation for Education.