“Graduate! Graduate! Graduate!” There was no second guessing the message VA Secretary Eric Shinseki delivered this January at the Student Veterans of America annual conference in Orlando.
Veterans’ college graduation rates also topped the topics for the journalist’s panel that followed Sec. Shinseki’s speech. Both the panel and Shinseki’s speech can be linked to some national news reports that said 88 percent of military veterans drop-out in their first year of college.
That statistic has not been substantiated and it’s been refuted by SVA:
SVA’s own research found that an NBC News article from July 2, 2012 was the first known media report this year citing the 88 percent dropout rate as fact. The source for NBC’s “statistic” is not a report, but rather a presentation published by the Colorado Workforce Development Council and the Colorado State Office of the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS).
The presentation cites reports from the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee and the book Combat Leader to Corporate Leader by Chad Storlie as the sources for the data. Not only are these documents void of such numbers, but officials for the three groups have repeatedly stated that they did not provide the information.
The problem is that very little data had been gathered about student veterans, but that’s changed thanks to a joint project with the VA, the National Student Clearinghouse and the SVA.
The first brief from that research partnership was released by the Student Veterans of America:
- approximately 68 percent of veterans who responded reported they received the degree or certificate for which they were receiving VA educational benefits, according to the 2010 National Survey of Veterans.
- approximately 61 percent of veterans reported attending some college or higher. In contrast, approximately 56 percent of non-veterans reported some college or higher, according to the U.S.Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
You can get the full research brief on student outcomes for Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bill recipients here.
Filed under: Education, Veterans, Veterans Administration Tagged: | American Community Survey, American Council on Education, Eric Shinseki, Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, student veterans, Student Veterans of America, veteran graduation rates