Military service members and veterans in higher education: What the new GI Bill may mean for postsecondary institutions
College campuses may soon see an influx of military service members seeking an undergraduate education. The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008—the “new GI Bill”—takes effect on August 1, 2009. Radically different from and more financially generous than its recent predecessors, the new GI Bill is likely to generate widespread interest in postsecondary education among current and former military personnel.
As of September 30, 2008, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (2008d) estimated that there were 23.4 million veterans in the United States. Nearly 2 million U.S. military personnel have fought in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars (American Council on Education, 2008). As higher education institutions prepare to serve more of those who have served their country, it is useful to review what we know about veterans in general as well as veterans and military service members who were recently enrolled in higher education.