Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Unique Educational Approaches of Military Veterans

Military students are precious contributors to society and have the discipline mixed with service mentality to help them. To understand these students better requires a look at where and how they enroll within the education system. A 2011 report by the National Center for Education Statistics helps understand what these students are doing in college from a more macro scale. 

The study relies on the 2007–08 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:08) and the 2004/09 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:04/09) to come to some interesting conclusions. Key findings include:

-In 2007–08, 4 percent of all undergraduates and 4 percent of all graduate students were either veterans or current military service members.

-Majority of students were male and married.

-A higher percentage, when compared to non-military students, attended private nonprofit 4-year institutions and were as likely as non-military students to attend public 2-year colleges. 

-Were more likely to take an online course. 

-Often studied computer and information sciences more often than their nonmilitary peers.

-More than non-military students waited 7 years between undergraduate education and starting graduate education. 

-Were more likely than others to take graduate courses online. 

The report does highlight the idea that such students were likely to attend traditional schools and they choose these colleges for institution, cost, and the programs. As these students graduated and started careers with their families they were more likely to attend online graduate schools. This may be due their competing interests and family needs align more greatly with a 24/7 college access style. 

When compared to their non-military college students, veterans received their aid primarily at public 2-year (66 percent vs. 48 percent) and public 4-year institutions (81 percent vs. 67 percent). No detection of difference between private nonprofit and for-profit institutions could be found. The aid followed the students and their choice of selection. 

Compared with their non-military peers they pursued a master’s degree more often (77 percent vs. 65 percent) but were less likely to pursue a doctorate (9 percent vs. 15 percent). These students attended class part-time more often (35 percent vs. 26 percent) and preferred online graduate courses (38 percent vs. 21 percent). 

Military students are unique compared to non-military students. They are likely to get married and start families early. Their choice of educational careers often focus on computer, information, education and healthcare. The far majority attend proximal traditional 2-year and private non-profit schools with their educational aid. After some time they may consider going back to graduate school and prefer online education that fits their unique needs.

National Center for Educations Statistics (2011). Military Service Members and Veterans: A Profile of Those Enrolled in Undergraduate and Graduate Education in 2007-08. (. Stats in Brief. NCES 2011-163, ED524042). U.S. Department of Education.

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