The Higher Education Landscape for Student Service Members and Veterans in Indiana

by Jo Vaughan; Martina Sternberg; Ryan Carlson; Shelley Macdermid Wadsworth

Apr 1, 2009
The road to higher education can be long and challenging. The demands of academic work combined with employment, family, friends, and social life prove insurmountable for somestudents. Students who are now servingor have served their country in the Armed Forces and want to attend college may face unique obstacles that impede their progress. In this report, we consider the needs of student service members and veterans and the readiness of campuses across Indiana to serve them. We also highlight innovative programming across the nation that addresses gaps in support for student service members and veterans. The United States is currently experiencing the longest and largest-scale sustained involvement in war in recent history. Over 1.6 million deployments have occurred to support Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in Iraq and/or Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and over 420,000 troops have served on multiple deployments. The drawdown in the size of the Armed Forces during the 1990s increased the role of the National Guard and Reserves in our nation's military. As a result, members of the National Guard and Reserves are currently serving longer, more frequent deployments than since World War II, with approximately 38% deployed, and 84,000 deploying more than once. When they are not on active duty, many members of the National Guard and Reserves are students at institutions of higher learning. After completing their service, many active duty military members pursue higher education using the benefits they receive via the GI Bill. The presence of student service members and veterans on college campuses -- and their families -- is likely to increase given recent expansions in GI Bill benefits and continued large-scale deployments.
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