4 great reasons why colleges should recruit student veterans

New report offers strategies for recruiting and enrolling student veterans
By: | November 6, 2020
A rec sports wheelchair basketball game at Ohio State University.A rec sports wheelchair basketball game at Ohio State University.

Student veterans enhance campus diversity and come to campus with substantial financial support.

Student veterans also perform well academically and have strong post-graduation outcomes.

These are the four key reasons why colleges and universities should consider ramping up efforts to enroll and then support former service members when they arrive on campus, according to a new report, “Making the Case for Student Veterans,” from the American Talent Initiative.

When it comes to diversity, student veterans are more likely to be Black or Latinx and nearly 50 percent are more likely than other students to be the first in their families to go to college. They are also likely to be older, have a disability and be eligible for a Pell Grant, the report says.


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Recent veterans are also eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill that covers in-state tuition and fees for up to three years at public institutions, or up to $25,162 annually at private institutions.

Salute to service: How three universities recruit and support #studentveteransClick To TweetFinally, student veterans are 1.4 times more likely to earn a certificate or degree compared to other adult learners and boast a lower unemployment rate. As of June 2020, the veteran unemployment rate was 8.8%, compared to 11.1% for the comparable non-veteran population.

Here are Strategies for making the case and building support for student veterans on campus:

  1. Define commitments and blend them into a comprehensive strategy for diversity: High-graduation-rate institutions incorporate student veteran enrollment initiatives into their overall efforts to increase socioeconomic and racial diversity.
  2. Charge key stakeholders to develop, enact, and reinforce strategy: Senior administrators must allocate resources and empower stakeholders to enact programs and activities that achieve enrollment goals.
  3. Engage faculty, staff, students, and alumni: Initiatives, particularly new programs, are more likely to succeed when they have a broad base of support on campus. This especially applies to new programs that aim to enroll and support student veterans. Members of the campus community, including faculty, staff, and students, often have misconceptions about the academic potential and the social and political views of student veterans. These misconceptions can impede efforts to enroll more student veterans and alienate student veterans who are already enrolled.
  4. Communicate commitments to prospective student veterans: Administrators must clearly and publicly convey their commitments and practices to welcome prospective student veterans that.

Columbia University, The Ohio State University and Rutgers University operate robust support program for student veterans.

Scroll through the slideshow below to read their stories.