Student Veterans Fighting for Class

By: Caleb Smith. English IV Honors

Just exactly what are student veterans?

Student veterans are citizens that have served in the military and are seeking a higher education. Here's how it all breaks down("Who Are Today's Student Veterans?"):

-73%-80% of Student Veterans are male; 21-27% are female.

-With only 10-14% of military personnel being women, female Student Veterans are over represented in post-secondary education.

-Only 15% of Student Veterans are traditionally aged college students.

-Most Student Veterans are between the ages of 24 and 40.

-47% of Student Veterans have children.

-47.3% of Student Veterans are married.

-62% of Student Veterans are first-generation students.

So What Kind of Issues Do Student Veterans Face?

Student veterans have a difficult time recognizing themselves as students, instead of soldiers. They have been drilled and ordered but not have yet to have a chance to identify themselves as a normal citizen. Following the attention of following orders, student veterans have trouble making decisions. They usually have a set order of steps and/or precaution to take on a situation, but in school they make the decisions now. PTSD is a problem that affects 20 percent of student veterans. Adjusting takes awhile for veterans. The National Survey of Student Engagement shows first year veterans "were less engaged in reflective learning compared to nonveterans." Some have a hard time acting in a casual manner. Having been exposed to intense battle situations, typical college behavior can trip their "senses" and have them on edge. The GI Bill does not cover everything, some expenses still exist. Student veterans are upset some military related credits do not transfer to college credits. Since the average student veteran age is 24 to 40 years old, it's hard to connect with younger students. Two of the last problems I have to discuss is boredom and disability. Since bombs aren't exploding and no house clearings going on its a subtle life, or boring life to a veteran. Most colleges aren't equipped with the needs to educate a disabled veteran, whether mental or physical.

Pictures From A SVA Meeting

The public that supports the military usually follows suit and supports programs and benefits that help student veterans. They raise money to help pay for their education. Now the side of the public that does not support military personnel complains the money spent educating GI's is a waste of money. The way I interpret their view as they think the GI's need to pay for college as any normal student, basically no benefits.

How Does the Military View Student Veterans?

The military saw the need that student veterans needed help to achieve their educational goals. Student veterans across different campuses started connecting and sharing success tips and stories. As the problem grew larger, the Student Veterans of America was formed in 2008. Together they planned to overhaul the GI Bill to help veterans achieve their education goals. This led to Bush signing the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The new overhauled bill helped students achieve their goal more each year.

What Programs/Resources are Available to Help?

The GI Bill is a program that helps the student veterans. The Student Veterans of America is a large group that collectively bargain to get a veteran the education it deserves. There are also other private and national fundraisers to help them.