Earlier this month, J. Michael Haynie, Ph.D., vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation and executive director of the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families, was appointed by United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough to serve on…
Nontraditional Students – Like Vets – Face Unique Challenges Heading Back to School
As parents, students and educational institutions focus on the start of a new semester, nontraditional students like veterans are often overlooked. Student veterans are likely to be older than peer classmates, married, have children and work full or part-time jobs while pursuing their education.
Rosalinda Maury is the Director of Applied Research at Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families. She says for student veterans, going back to school means more than gathering books and backpacks.
“The demographics of those attending higher education institution are changing. In fact, it is estimated that by 2025 more than 50 percent of the student population will be nontraditional students. Student veterans fall into that nontraditional category.
“Student veterans are more likely to be older, married, have children, and working full or part time. Some student veterans may have a disability and some are first generation students in higher education.
“For student veteran going back to school means more than gathering books and backpacks.”
Some challenges that student veterans have faced while pursuing higher education are:
- Age differences between themselves and other students
- Lack of financial resources
- Working full time jobs
- Few veterans resources on campus
- Family responsibilities
- Transferring academic credits
Helpful resources and assets for veteran success include:
- Having a military/veteran friendly campus and environment (including policies, resources, faculty/staff, etc.)
- Dedicated academic advising/counseling and peer or professional tutoring for student veterans
- Dedicated veterans office & administrators on campus
- Flexible class schedules
- Veterans orientation program and academic preparation courses & remediation for those that need
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