Missing Perspectives: Service Members’ Transition from Service to Civilian Life – Forward

To date, existing research related to veterans and higher education has focused on issues of persistence, attainment, and readjustment. The following paper addresses what has been a critical gap in understanding the transition experience generally, particularly the transition from the military to higher education. It emphasizes the social and cultural barriers that affect the transition experience, narrated through the voices of veterans. Most importantly, it reveals veterans’ firsthand experiences, their pre-, in-, and post-service motivations; their perceived strengths, skills, and shortcomings; their future educational and employment aspirations; and their enduring contributions to public service.


Key Highlights

This survey resulted in one of the most sweeping datasets to date representing the lived experiences of our latest generation of veterans and military families. Results of survey highlight:

  • Veterans tend to have a strong positive perception of their military experience
  • Veterans’ military experiences motivate and promote interest in advanced education
  • Higher education is an important factor that service members consider pre-transition
  • Significant barriers still remain for veterans seeking higher education

Media & Related Presentations

Foreign Policy, What the academy doesn’t know about the vet: Exploring the top five oversights, November 23, 2015

Military Times, Colleges aren’t reacting to student vets’ needs, report says, November 18, 2015

Corri Zoli, Rosy Maury and Danny Fay. A Data-Driven Approach to Veterans’ Transition: Education, Employment & Post-Service Success. NAVPA Training and Veterans Conference, Oct. 5-9, 2015, Nashville, Tennessee

Corri Zoli, Rosy Maury and Danny Fay. In search of the Post-9/11 veterans’ missing perspectives. War on the rocks. April 23, 2015

Corri Zoli, Rosy Maury and Danny Fay. From Soldier to Student: Veterans Transition, Public Service & the Promise of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. NASPA Veterans Conference, Feb. 8-10, 2015, Louisville, Kentucky


Survey 1Servicemember to Student Survey: Veterans’ Perceptions of Transition, Higher Education, and Success (launched May 2014) has received over 8,500 responses thus far, making it one of the largest and most comprehensive datasets on veterans’ experiences in higher education. This survey was designed and disseminated to gather information on service members’ and their families’ educational experiences, challenges, and pathways to post-service success, including STEM education. All military service members (active duty, reserves, guard, veterans) and their families are eligible to participate. To take the survey, Service member to Student survey link.

Survey 2Serving Student Veterans: Programs, Policies & Practices for Service Members’ Success on Campus, (launched September 2014) is designed to understand veteran administrators’ perspectives on student veterans’ academic success on their campuses.  This survey gathers information from institutions of higher education about the methods and processes; challenges and successes in serving military service members throughout the entire education life cycle. These included the cycles of recruitment, enrollment, and inclusion in campus life, and veteran – specific programs and services, career services, professional development, alumni relations, and STEM-focused curricula and career opportunities. All higher education institutions are eligible to participate. To complete the survey, you may either use the fillable PDF form (Serving Student Veterans: Programs, Policies & Practices for Service Members’ Success on Campus downloadable PDF) or complete this Serving Student Veterans: Programs, Policies & Practices for Service Members’ Success on Campus form  and an online survey link will be emailed to you.

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