Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Supporting Veterans in the Classroom

June 2014

In 2007–08, approximately 4 percent of all US college and university students were veterans or activeduty soldiers; since the drawdown began in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of student veterans has risen. Yet few statistics exist to show how veterans are doing in college. Larry Abramson reported on National Public Radio on December 5, 2012, that “there are no national statistics on veterans’ graduation rates.” While the United States is doing a better job in its treatment of veterans today than it did following the Vietnam War, severe problems persist. Veterans face long waits for disability payments and endure higher-than-average homelessness and suicide rates. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics study, recent efforts have reduced the overall unemployment rate among veterans to 7 percent, but veterans of post–September 11 conflicts have a 10.8 percent rate. Historically, the unemployment rate for combat veterans has been about three percentage points higher than the rate for all veterans.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, an advocacy group, noted that “one of the greatest challenges veterans report in finding a job is explaining how their military skills translate to the civilian workforce.” Veterans often attempt to bridge that gap by attending college; the US Department of Veterans Affairs reports that 64.8 percent of all veterans take higher education classes. However, veterans often experience difficulties in college, too. Despite the competence they may have developed and demonstrated in the military, some veterans don’t know how to transfer their skills to new environments.

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