During the 2017-2018 academic year, Swords to Plowshares’ Institute for Veteran Policy conducted qualitative research with 75 veterans and nine campus staff from Bay Area colleges to assess formal and informal supportive practices on campuses and to better understand the direct challenges and needs of student veterans. Students and staff from San Francisco State University; University of San Francisco; University of California, Berkeley; and City College of San Francisco were interviewed. The information in this report provides research-based recommendations to colleges to improve services for—and ultimately education outcomes of—student veterans.
Throughout the study, common themes emerged among participants from the schools we studied, namely, it became clear that programs varied in their level of support for veterans. Strengths at some universities were nonexistent at others, and this had a clear impact on student outcomes.
Some of the shared challenges these students faced:
What can be done to address these challenges? Our report identified several recommendations for colleges that want to better support student veterans. Through our findings, trainings for educators, and other tools, colleges can gain practical insights to make an impact on their campuses.
Colleges must honor their commitment to serve these students and ensure the public promise to pay for veteran education fulfills its potential. Providing formal supports for veterans should be a standard for institutions that receive GI Bill dollars.
Read the full report: “The Path Forward: What Universities Need to Know to Help Student Veterans Succeed”