Students and administrators trying to rally support for veterans on campus have a new talking point: A recent survey finds that student vets attending four-year universities in the U.S. generally perceive lower levels of campus support and interact less often with faculty members than nonveterans.
The National Survey of Student Engagement from the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research analyzed responses from 362,000 first-year students and seniors — including nearly 11,000 self-identified veterans — at 564 colleges and universities. This is the first year the survey has gathered data on veterans.
The survey found that senior veterans, in particular, were significantly less engaged than their nonveteran peers, reporting fewer high-impact and engaging activities and lower overall satisfaction.
First-year veterans' engagement might match their peers' engagement more closely because they share a fairly structured experience, said Jillian Kinzie, associate director at the Center for Postsecondary Research.
"Because [the first] year tends to be a little more organized, they might be OK," she said. "But [by] senior year, when students really have to take on more of their own sense of academic experience, I think some of that support falls away. It might ... have a great impact on students who are veterans."