After World War II, high demand for education geared towards veterans sparked in the United States. UNC Charlotte originally opened as one of 14 evening college centers in North Carolina, and was opened with the intention of providing an education to veterans.
The university recently participated in a study called “Completing the Mission: A Pilot Study of Veteran Students’ Progress Toward Degree Attainment in the Post 9/11 Era.” The study focused on the way universities handle veteran affairs after Sept. 11, 2001, and the average achievement of veterans receiving funding through the GI Bill. Operation College Promise and the Pat Tillman Foundation were responsible for the report.
UNC Charlotte was one of seven universities who participated in the study, the others being Mississippi State University, University of South Florida, the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Montclair State University, Texas State University and Arizona State University.
Logan Cason, coordinator for Veteran Students Outreach at UNC Charlotte, says that it is great that UNC Charlotte was included in this study, and administration at the university is interested in looking more closely at this.
“It’s a pretty big deal as veterans are a hot topic and very little has been done previously to measure their success rates,” said Cason. “UNC Charlotte is on the forefront of this type of research and the way we support our veterans.”
The study reports that 523,244 veterans have taken advantage of the GI Bill since August 2009. Currently and estimated 1,000 veterans are enrolled at UNC Charlotte.
Findings were reported for grade point average (GPA), percent of students earning all credits pursued, retention rate and programs facilitated for veterans.
While, according to the study, there is no expected difference between the average GPA of veterans and that of traditional students, there is a notable correlation between the GPA of veterans and their retention rate at the university. The study concluded that the highest retention rate, 85.6 percent, was found among students whose GPAs were greater than 3.0, while the lowest retention rate, 46.9 percent, matched with students with GPAs less than 2.0.
The study also asserts that the programs available to veteran students at a university affect retention. A 2010 National Survey of Student Engagement found that there is a “need for campuses to adapt [to] the specific needs of a student veteran population,” according to the study.
As more studies such as this are done, it is possible that services at the university will improve for not only veterans but all non-traditional students.