Earlier this year, VA and Student Veterans America, along with the National Student Clearinghouse, announced a collaborative effort to develop a clearer picture of student Veteran graduation rates. The effort intended to build comprehensive data to show progress and challenges; in the absence of quality data, thin media reports speculated Vets graduated at a spectacularly low rate. SVA outlined why that could be problematic.

This week, SVA’s research team dug into VA’s 2010 National Survey of Veterans and the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. What they found: 68 percent of respondents said they graduated with a degree or a certificate using VA education benefits.

From Student Veterans of America:

“Viewed together, these surveys indicate that completion rates are much higher than 12 percent,” said Dr. Chris Cate, research director of Student Veterans of America. “According to the NSV, approximately 68 percent of veterans who responded reported they received the degree or certificate for which they were receiving VA educational benefits. The ACS survey reveals that approximately 61 percent of veterans reported attending some college or higher. In contrast, approximately 56 percent of nonveterans reported some college or higher.”

While this is an encouraging sign, it’s important to remember there’s much work to do in regards to gathering and interpreting the latest available data. The reports give us five year’s worth, but in two of them, the Post-9/11 GI Bill wasn’t in existence. Also, only 11 percent of respondents served after September 11, 2001. That means a substantial number of those surveyed faced different challenges than the current generation of Veterans pursuing education.

In any case, SVA’s thoughtful analysis tells us we’re on the right track, but of course, a 68 percent success rate means 30-40 percent of student Veterans aren’t reaching an acceptable level of success. We need to move that needle forward. Start by keeping up with GI Bill news and updates, and get involved at your local SVA chapter (or start one yourself) to ensure your school is setting you up for success.

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Published on Mar. 4, 2013

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Views to date: 97


  1. Tony C. March 17, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I might have missed this but we need to remember “life happens”. If a service member goes back to school but has to make more money to support his/her family they may take a job instead of finishing their degree.

    I don’t here poor me in these other comments. I hear challenges. I also read others have overcome challenges to get to their goal.

    No system is perfect and I am one of those who is very critical of the VA but they are doing a good job with the GI Bill. I would love some improvements. However, when you know how the system works (good or bad) you must adapt to it and make it work for you.

    I am thankful for having the Post 9/11 GI Bill because the BAH offered really is a great motivator. I am getting paid daily to learn. I can’t think of many other opportunities like this one.

    Good luck to my fellow Veterans.

  2. mr. matt March 14, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Thanks to GI Bill I am able to go back to school and basically have an opportunity to start a new career. Also, the housing allowance stipend supplements my income. Its better than having an additional part-time job. Basically, it like I am getting paid to go to school but in the end I will have my degree. The system may not be perfect but you have to make the best of it. Good luck and congratulations to all who decide to stick it out and accomplish your goods. Semper Fi and Bravo Zulu!

  3. Cedric March 14, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Thank You to the military for the 911 Gi Bill. I recently graduated from Virginia College in Montgomery, AL in adlministrative office management with associate’s degree. I really didn’t have any family support, so the extra income helped. I am working but not in my major. I was so proud to see this organization that has formed because I had 70 credits toward a bachelor degree in Social work but after my first semester at Virginia College I found that credits do not transfer out to other colleges! I did not research private for profit colleges, private not for profit colleges, public colleges and on-line colleges. Many veteran students do not have the answers that they need. Eventhough, I have graduated I would love to return to my college and speak with the veteran students about opening a chapter if they have not yet! Thank you for supporting the troops!

  4. Regina March 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    While reading over many of the comments, I since a bit of the “POOR ME” syndrome. Poor me, I can’t get to class because VA didn’t pay me. Poor Me, I didn’t finish my degree because I did not get to see the doctor……. “Poor Me” Oh my goodness, because of the many awesome benefits that we veterans receive from VA, many of you have lost your independence. Stop making excuses and take advantage of the benefits that you have worked so hard for. It is no one fault but yours if you choose not to complete your degree.

    I am a single mother of two, work 40hrs a week, have back problems, and mental illness yet I completed my BA and MBA.

    Stop making excuses!!! Finish what you have started.

  5. Regina March 13, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    I am forever grateful for The Department of Veterans Affairs education programs. I used Voc. Rehab to complete my Bachelors degree and used Chapter 33 benefits to complete my Master of Business Degree. THANK YOU JESUS and DVA

  6. Pat March 8, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    VA could do more to improve student outcomes. The agency hurts graduation rates through flawed legislative interpretation that leads to veteran debt and stop outs. Paying benefits based on enrollment for an entire term instead of class start/stop dates, disbursing funds in the same manner as Dept of Ed, and putting a stop to the Treasury Offset Program would be steps in the right direction. VA should also let veterans and schools know the exact amount of the semester benefit prior to the term so veterans can budget and make arrangements for other expenses. Progress has been made since 2009, but there is a long way to go.

  7. Al Yardley 1SG SF Retired March 7, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Thank you so much for the 911 GI Bill and VA Vocational Rehab, I am scheduled to graduate in the fall of 2013, with a bachelors degree in Behavior science/Social Work/secondary education. I will be 61 years old when I graduate. The classroom experience has been great. The teachers for the most part have been great. Many do not understand veteran’s issues. Colleges need a military 101 class for staff and professors. Attention Veteran students, a wise veteran (older than me) gave me a recipe for success for college. “Participate and graduate”, Listen, more that you talk. Not everyone understands or appreciates our opinions. Many times veterans fall on their own sword with instructors. Make a new friend everyday, even if it’s with the student janitors. My reports and essays in classes bring light to veteran’s issues i.e. PTSD, The college experience for veterans, Veteran services, Benefits, employment, deployments and families. The college experience is an opportunity for us to change the world. lets take advantage of it. Hooah

    • John March 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      How can you be eligible for post 911? This sounds like a fake post…

    • John March 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      Ok, you moderators are picking and choosing what should be put on these posts. So the below comments have warrant.

      You can’t control what is said on Yelp, Google, Facebook, etcetera…

      You will be in a social media mess really quick if you keep censoring people.

      Why don’t you try to respond to the questions?


  8. Dan F March 6, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    just wanted to tell you moderators thanks for censoring my comment, you people dont want to hear the truth when it comes to stupid things said by your leader.

    • Kate Hoit March 7, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Hi Dan,

      Which comment are you referring to? We’ve published 16 of your comments and we published all comments regardless of how critical they may be about VA, etc.

      • Jon March 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

        I’m a retired military veteran and online marketer. In my humble opinion there seems to be a higher rate of good to great comments than negative. With that being said, I will be posting my thoughts and experiences with the DVA, hopefully they will not be censored. Let’s keep it fair and balanced.

        – John

  9. Quancidine H. Gribble March 5, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Hello VA,

    I would like to know more information about the program for education that pays you $1500.00 a month.

    Thank you,
    Quancidine Hinson-Gribble

  10. joe March 5, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I left college at the end of my third year plus 2 subjects due to my ADD’ wich had no lable at that point This part, 3+ yrs, was completed under the Korean GI bill) on my own over the years I have finished over 3 years of college level course of various fields between business & the arts, (writing & fine Arts). In all regards I thank the GI Bill program for the help it gave me. My error, if I may call it that was that I picked the wrong major for my capabilities, for different reasons.
    Again Than you, the U>S> GOVERNMENT for the G.I. Bill …

  11. Sean Vincent March 5, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Through some strange twist of irony this story popped up on the VA website as I am facing the possibility of failing out on my last semester of college. This is not due to lack of ambition or ability, it is because I am in soo much pain i can barely move and the pain meds have me seeing double. The best that can be done for me is a telemed appointment in which I have to wait 2 months for. I called pain management and got chastised for not using the main number, which is voice mail whose announcement promises they will get back to you within 48 hours, which they rarely do. The only reason I have missed classes in the past 4 years if because I have had to go to appointments that are impossible to change to fit my class schedule. Add to that the VA hospital is 102 MILELS away from my house, and they went from reimbursing you for travel on the same day to mailing or direct depositing your travel to you a month later, and it really comes as no surprise there are so many vets that cannot complete college.
    I have maintained a 3.4 GPA for the past 8 semesters and I am facing flunking out of college because I cannot receive local, timely healthcare that is sensitive to my personal situation….. I wonder if anyone at the VA has considered THAT.

  12. Gregory Holmes March 4, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Its too early to administer data, but we forswear a unfavorable graduation rate with VRAP recepients. Due to us being older Veterans, college isn’t easy but we will only be given a one year portion of VRAP benefits but almost all of today’s programs o study are established as two year diploma or degree programs. It’s a great program, but after one year we will be right back to where we started. Before starting the program. Im a member of SVO inn Danville VA and this has been a big veteran concern. We Ethernet all to make contacts to Congressman members to extend the program to match its graduation time frame and thus improve graduation rates. Thanks for your attention and time to this matter.

Comments are closed.

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