Veterans in Higher Education: A Qualitative Examination of Student Veterans at Peach University


Debra Wales

Date of Award

Winter 2015




Doctor of Education


Counseling, Foundations & Leadership


With the passage of the Veterans Educational Assistance Act in 2008, better known as the Post 9/11 GI Bill and with the downsizing of military forces (2011-2015) many veterans were given the incentive to start college. Since the implantation of the veterans’ educational benefits, little research had been conducted to identify if documents and policies espoused by institutions of higher education, created barriers for veterans as they transition on to campuses. This qualitative study explored student veterans’ perceptions of Peach University, analyzed the printed documents and policies pertaining to student veterans, and examined to what extent there were differences between what student veterans perceive is offered, and what is offered. A content analysis of 78 university documents and written policies were analyzed using an emergent design methodology, which developed eight interview questions. Twelve student veterans participated in open-ended, semi-structured interviews. The findings suggest institutional policies and practices can affect the transition of veterans onto campus both positively and negatively. Student veterans view the Veteran Center on campus as the place to resolve all academic issues and find support from fellow veterans. From the sample of veterans in this study, 67% arrived on campus with injuries, which were a direct result of their military service, an indication for increased awareness and services for student veterans. The conclusions support alignment of written documents with services delivered could ease the transition process for veterans, and increase the consistency of new student veterans receiving the same needed information. Further, instituting a unique Veteran Orientation to meet the educational needs of transitioning veterans, could contribute to increased services for student veterans.

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