Service Members in School

Military Veterans' Experiences Using the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Pursuing Postsecondary Education

by Jennifer L. Steele, Nicholas Salcedo, James Coley

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Abstract

The Post-9/11 GI Bill, which took effect in August of 2009, significantly increased the higher education benefits available to eligible individuals who served on active duty in the U.S. armed forces after September 10, 2001. The result is the most generous education benefit for veterans since the original GI Bill of 1944. However, the new array of benefits is also more complicated to administer than benefits offered under the existing Montgomery GI Bill, resulting in numerous first-year implementation challenges. To better understand these challenges from the perspective of students and higher education institutions, the American Council on Education (ACE) asked RAND to survey and conduct focus groups with veterans and eligible dependents and to interview higher education administrators. This report, which was made possible by ACE and the Lumina Foundation for Education, presents results of the study, describing not only students' and institutions' reported experiences with the new benefits, but also students' experiences transferring military training to academic credit and adapting to life on campus.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Approach and Methods

  • Chapter Three

    Findings

  • Chapter Four

    Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Summary of Current and Prior Military Education Benefits

  • Appendix B

    Methodological Supplement

  • Appendix C

    Response Rate Tables

  • Appendix D

    Student Focus Group Protocol

  • Appendix E

    Focus Group Demographic Information Sheet

  • Appendix F

    Interview Protocol for Non-Enrolled Veterans

  • Appendix G

    Interview Protocol for Campus Administrators

  • Appendix H

    Student Survey

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was carried out by RAND Education, a unit of the RAND Corporation with support from Lumina Foundation for Education, for the American Council on Education

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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