Veterans in Higher Education: What Every Adviser May Want to Know


  • Jose E. Coll, Hans Oh, Craig Joyce, and Lazara C. Coll University of Southern California



With the current influx of soldiers returning from war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the newly revised Post-9/11 GI Bill affords veterans the opportunity to attend state colleges free of charge, which may result in a dramatic increase in enrollment of veterans in colleges across the country. However, most learning institutions are ill-equipped to accommodate the special needs of those veteran students who may experience adjustment problems when reintegrating into a civilian setting. Veterans return with a newly acquired value system shaped by military service that can create dissonance when interacting with non-military people. Moreover, veterans may suffer from complex physical injuries, severe cognitive damages, and a host of psychological traumas. This paper surveys the special needs of the veteran student population and introduces resources to which veteran students may be referred. In doing so, this paper calls academic advisers to employ more holistic and strengths-based approaches to advising to promote retention and academic success for veteran students.