Date of Graduation

12-2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Michael T. Miller

Committee Member

G. David Gearhart

Second Committee Member

Michael S. Hevel

Keywords

advising student veterans, military students in higher education, ROTC advising student veterans, student veteran and transition, student veteran or military student and advising

Abstract

Student veterans are a growing population in higher education with over 650,000 veterans using education benefits in 2018. Student veterans are enrolling in colleges of all types, and many institutions have support services designed for them specifically. In most cases these support services are limited to veteran centers where officials certify credit hours for financial benefits and do not offer services to help them fully assimilate into higher education. Student veterans bring a wide range of life experiences, culture, and work ethic to college campuses which serves to build and diversify the student body. However, veterans have reported feeling isolated and disconnected from other students, staff, and faculty due to differences in life experiences.

This mixed methods study was conducted in three phases. The first phase focused on differences in cumulative grade point averages between student veterans enrolled Reserve Officer Training Corps programs and student veterans not enrolled in Reserve Officer Training Corps programs. The second phase consisted of interviews with military and college advisors to determine methodological differences used to advise student veterans. The third phase involved a survey to obtain student veteran perceptions of academic advising on campus. The data analysis reviewed quantitative differences in grade point averages and themes describing advising practices and student veteran perceptions of advising practices.

The results of the study indicated that there were statistically significant differences in cumulative grade point averages between three out of five groups tested. College and military advisors had differences in total number of students they were responsible for, personal connections made, and total number of student contacts. Of the student veterans who participated in the survey, student veterans want to be advised by people with a military background. Student veterans also want an advisor who can connect with them over shared experiences, or at a minimum want advisors who try to relate to their experiences as student veterans.

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