VA to Begin Tracking Veteran Grad Rates

SOURCE: VAntage Point Blog 
By Michael Dakduk

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is enabling hundreds of thousands of recent Veterans to obtain the education they need for success during and after their military service. Unfortunately, it is challenging to determine program completion rates or degree conferral. We know how many Veterans receive funds and how much money has been spent, but not the explicit results achieved by this investment. Today Student Veterans of America(SVA) and VA announced a major step in changing that.

SVA, working with VA and the National Student Clearinghouse, will lead an effort to research the completion rates of Veterans and their dependents using the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This is an unprecedented effort, and rarely has a government program been studied for efficacy during its execution. We firmly believe it is essential to know just how successful our student Veterans have been as they take on their next mission in the classroom.

The original GI Bill of Rights, officially known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, enabled World War II Veterans to obtain higher education at an unprecedented rate and ultimately changed the economic landscape of our nation. It is said that every dollar spent was returned to the nation sevenfold in increased tax revenue as the middle class, full of returned GIs, grew exponentially. Less commonly known is that the GI Bill’s statistical outcomes were not measured until many years later, when researchers began to study the return on this remarkable investment.

Under today’s GI Bill, the challenge of rapidly collecting and reporting accurate statistics on Veterans’ achievement remains. One journalist recently reported that up to 88 percent of Veterans will drop out in their first year, although he has not provided any proof to justify this claim, and SVA has called the statistic patently false. Negative and misleading statistics about how well Veterans are doing in their educational programs discourage Veterans from trying to achieve their dreams—and could make educational institutions less likely to invest in the critical support infrastructure Veterans need to succeed.

Earning a degree or completing vocational training offers Veterans an opportunity to combine their military leadership experience with a civilian credential, paving the way to lead in their next endeavor. It is essential that we know how well they are doing, where the difficulties lie, and how we can effectively allocate both government and nonprofit resources to support them. And as the federal budget continues tightening, we must be able to accurately tell the story of how our investment in the men and women who have defended this nation is helping them realize their aspirations and strengthening our economy.

SVA stands ready to help all Veterans as they work toward their educational and training goals, enter the workforce, and continue to lead this great nation. We are very excited to begin this research and will report back with results as we discover them.

Michael Dakduk is the executive director of Student Veterans of America. He is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, with service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

About the Author

Terry Howell
Before becoming the Managing Editor for, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.
  • Jen R

    I am using my VRAP I am in my 2nd term at Everest University and I have 4.0 GPA. I plan to keep going until I graduate. I am also taking an extra class 16 credits.

    • Hope you don’t end up at walmart ..

  • Chuck
  • Steve n San Diego

    Have quit my job and enrolled in a school starting soon. Hope this benefit does not get cut off!

  • Forrest Austin

    Started using the 9/11 GI Bill program in May 2010 and in less than 1 month, I will have completed my degree in Business Administration with Wayland Baptist Univeristy, San Antonio, TX campus. Intend to continue with a Masters Degree immediatley thereafter.

  • Kelly Redleaf

    I started school immediately after leaving the USMC (January 2010) and graduated from University of North Carolina-Wilmington in December of 2012. My husband did the same and also just graduated, as did an air force college buddy of mine. Thank you, GI bill! It wouldn’t have happened without it.

    • reinholz

      I see that you started in 2010 the original GI Bill changed in Oct, 2011 did this cause any overpayments to you or your school or did your school SCO keep up on the changes and submit your enrollment certs. correctly??Please reply to Currently have an issue with the university I attended for two years looking to transfer. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  • LeD

    I graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Higher Learning from Trident University International utilizing Tuition Assistance. I subsequently retired from the USAF and have yet to get a job offer in the Education career arena (I have applied to hundreds!) I transferred the post 911 GI Bill to my kid who graduated from Troy University and hasn’t found a job yet either. I’d recommend technical training to acquire “real skills” – that’s where the govn’t needs to sink the education dollars to re-boom this country!

    • Welkom to Amerika.

  • Dustin

    I served 9 years and I currently use the GI bill. I have almost a 4.0 GPA and have attended Ohio University for over a year. I’m working towards a degree in nursing. I seriously hope that I can continue to utilize this benifit I earned unlike many of the others who attend my schools using financial aid. More restrictions need to be placed on who gets financial aid. Most of those individuals abuse the system and obtain poor grades. Our government should buckle down and place standards on financial aid and pale grants.

  • So they can cut it—THAT IS THE REASON–WATCH

  • Veteran

    I earned my MBA after leaving the USAF thanks to the VA. I went into teaching and earned a doctorate in business administration. THANK YOU USAF and the great state of TEXAS!!!

  • Arun Bhusal

    Left Army on September, 2008 and joined Engineering College on August, 2009, at the very beginning of new GI Bill kicks off. Graduated on May, 2012 with 3.7 GPA and hired by NAVAIR on September and started to work from November, 2012. So far so good. Thanks GI Bill.

  • Professor

    Used the Post 9/11 to get a Master’s degree and will be starting a PhD this year. The funds are being used per the original intent. Now the government wants to make cuts by doing an statistical analysis to see who is actually graduating. You can do a survey to come to any conclusion you want if you manipulate the numbers. I say let those who use the money use it and those who don’t lose that benefit if college courses have not been started by them or a dependent.