According to the United States Veterans Administration (VA), a veteran is defined as “a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.” When transitioning to civilian-student life from military life, many veterans experience a variety of challenges that can facilitate or frustrate their successful transition, including finding and selecting a university, meeting its entrance requirements (e.g. ACT/SAT scores, high school transcripts) and enrolling in GI Bill education benefits. In order to assess the challenges of today’s veteran-scholars at Kent State University (KSU), I use focus group interviews with current KSU veterans as identified by the Center for Adult and Veteran Services.
My study explores three broad issues related to KSU veterans (re)assuming the college role: responsibilities and relationships (e.g. family, independent living), financial constraints and assimilating to the student role. Student veterans face unique challenges because they are dealing with the demands and challenges of adulthood while also assimilating to the student role and adjusting to the cultural norms of college life.
I examine the transitions to civilian life by focusing on the start or resumption of the college student role at KSU, including the resources available to help veterans pursuing higher education. This study highlights the current opportunities and challenges that exist when considering veterans and their progress towards earning a college degree.