Today’s generation of student veterans could be the most successful cohort to ever take advantage of the GI Bill.
When returning service members began to make their way to college and university campuses after service in the early years of the War on Terror, it became clear that the GI bill would have a renewed importance.
Today, nearly one million Americans are pursuing an education with support from the GI Bill, a collection of education benefits offered to veterans. The passage of the Forever GI Bill in 2017 expanded these benefits, thereby increasing potential success for all student veterans.
In partnership with the VA and the National Student Clearinghouse, Student Veterans of America studied the individual education records of the first 1.85 million veterans to use the GI Bill after September 11, 2001. The study found that the post-9/11 generation of veterans is the most diverse cohort of veterans in U.S. history.
Today, 27 percent of all student veterans are women — the largest population of female veterans to attend college — and they attain degrees at higher rates than their peers who have never served. Veterans of color including black and Latinx students are also attaining their degrees at significantly higher rates than their peers. And nearly two-thirds of student veterans are first-generation college students.
The national GPA for college students who have never served in the military is 3.11 while student veterans have an average of 3.35.
Perhaps most interesting of all, student veterans are out-graduating nearly all students in postsecondary education — achieving a success rate of 72 percent compared to the national average of 67 percent for students who have never served in the military. Post-9/11 veterans earn higher salaries than their peers who have never served, whether at the Bachelor’s level or with advanced degrees, according to national data.
The post-9/11 generation of warriors are building on the work and legacy of those who came before them and the nation’s investment in its veterans will pay dividends for decades to come.