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.