ASU examines graduation, retention rates of veteran population

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Tempe – The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, or G. I. Bill, was first introduced in 1944 to provide educational benefits to returning World War II veterans and their dependents. Today, more than 760,000 brave men and women have turned to the Post 9/11 G. I. Bill for help furthering their education. So who are these veterans and how are we ensuring they succeed?

As it stands, there is very little reliable data about the graduation rates for this growing population. The reason for this is largely due to the fact that veterans have not been separated as their own cohort, but rather grouped in with their civilian peers.

In April, President Obama signed an executive order to mandate the Department of Veterans Affairs to begin providing guidance as to how this special population should be tracked. The Pat Tillman Veterans Center at Arizona State University has also made it their mission to increase retention and better track graduation rates.

Captain Steven Borden, director of the Tillman Center, states that in order to properly track vets, we must first understand the types of vets commonly found in the university system. These being active duty service members with tuition assistance, vets using any portion of the G.I. Bill, vets not using their benefits because they have either exhausted them or choose not use them, and, finally, veteran dependents using G. I. Bill benefits.

So what do we know about this special population?

Since 2007, 2,180 veterans have received a bachelor’s degree from ASU.

In 2011 this population had a 63.6 percent retention rate among first time freshmen. This number increased the following year when vets had a 92.7 percent retention rate from fall 2012 to spring 2013. The sophomore class has an 80.6 percent retention rate from fall 2012 to spring 2013. The junior retention rate for fall of 2012 was 84.4 percent.

In order to better serve the veteran community, ASU has also taken steps to understand and accommodate the unique challenges they face when transitioning to university life. In many cases, these students have been removed from an academic arena for four or more years causing them to be unaccustomed to the rigorous coursework and structure that comes with being a student. Time management can also be a problem as they are transitioning to a predominantly less structured and regimented life then they are accustomed to in the military.

In these instances students may take a student success course similar to ASU 101 that communicates the available university resources, as well as teaches basic skills needed to succeed. Another option is Veterans Upward Bound, which reinforces basic math, English and computer literacy skills.

The Tillman Center itself serves a hub for service members. Vets may receive tutoring, academic support, counseling and assistance with registration from highly trained staff members. They may also relax and interact with friends in the lounge between classes.

“When vets leave the service they experience a loss of comradery. The Tillman Center is a great place to feel that connection and unity again,” Borden said.

This year Tillman Center staff made it their personal mission to ensure every student feel welcome by meeting with all 55 veterans who were new to ASU.

“Our military advocate gave them the elements to succeed and also shifted their focus so instead of a military mission, they are now making earning a degree their “mission,” Borden said.

Borden hopes that this personalized attention will help them stay on track and leverage university resources to make the most of the G. I. benefits.

Jason Brown, an Army Reservist and student at ASU, had tried his hand at a computer science program prior to entering the service, but found he lacked the discipline and focus to complete a bachelor’s degree. The values and skills he learned while on deployment gave the perspective he needed to be successful upon his entry to ASU in the fall of 2011.

“I was young and didn’t understand what an opportunity I was giving up when I missed classes. I am now back in the same program and I am happy to say that I have the purpose and discipline I was in such great need of before,” he said.

Tyler Jones, an English major in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, can personally attest to feeling out of place upon entering a university setting. After being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Jones says he experienced anxiety and found it hard to relate to his civilian peers who knew nothing about combat.

“To deal with this awkwardness I felt, I took on more classes than the full-time credit load of 12 credits to keep me distracted and occupied. Eventually I developed a working rhythm and got my act together, ” he said.

Both students credit a strong support system to help them adjust. Brown also praises the Tillman Center for their reminder emails pertaining to scholarship deadlines and veteran-centered events.

While they are just two of the many service members at ASU, both speak to the success that comes from hard work and perseverance.

admin (7654 Posts)


facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
facebooktwitterby feather

Comments are closed.

  • Stories Just Posted

    Arboretum November Exhibit: Luminary Artist John Aho

    17 hours ago
    by

    Tempe luminary artist John Aho celebrates light, both natural and unnatural. By day he excels at capturing subjects ranging from […]


    Gilbert Artists Teach Camera Basics & Fall Color Nov. 9

    17 hours ago
    by

    Editor’s Note: Gilbert pro photographer Michael Madsen shoots with a Nikon, while Patty Van Herpen prefers Canon. The artistic duo […]


    Freeport-McMoRan Awards $60,000 Grant to Experience Matters to Enhance Women’s Economic Empowerment, Reduce Domestic Violence

    19 hours ago
    by

    Phoenix- Experience Matters, an organization that is creating a stronger, more vibrant community by connecting the skill and passion of […]


    Cowboys, ranchers to be honored at two events

    October 29th, 2014
    by

    Superior Chamber of Commerce will host La Noche de Vaquero, Night of the Cowboy on Saturday Nov.


  • Stories Just For You

    DPS Encourages all Motorists to Drive Courteously This Holiday Season

    December 23rd, 2013
    by

    Arizona – The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), through its Highway Patrol Division, encourages all travelers to drive with […]


    Arvel Bird At the Arboretum New Year’s Day Concert at noon

    December 19th, 2013
    by

    Here’s a resolution you’ll find easy to keep: spend New Year’s Day outdoors at one of Arizona’s most scenic venues, […]


    Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction visited San Carlos Secondary School

    December 2nd, 2013
    by

    John Huppenthal, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction visited San Carlos Secondary School, one of the Cobre Valley Institute of Technology’s […]


    Happy Thanksgiving!

    November 28th, 2013
    by

    Copper Area News would like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving! Please remember to drive safely this holiday weekend. For […]


  • Facebook

  • [Advertisement.]
  • Arizona Headlines & Current Weather

  • Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin