Coordinated Transitions: How Military Service Influences Post-Service Education
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
U.S. military veterans and service members face many obstacles in the transition from military service to civilian live. Many federal and state-level policies and programs exist to assist service members in the transition including health, employment and education benefits. Many of these programs have been shown to encourage individuals to join the military and improve the outcomes for returning veterans in areas such as civic engagement and political activity. Previous scholarship has also examined how negative experiences during military service, including involuntary separation from service, may have negative consequences for service member health outcomes. Yet, few studies examine how military experiences and perceptions influence transition strategies among service members in arenas outside of health, including the use of education, benefits and other social services. Using a national survey of over 8400 military service members the current study examines how service experiences, including motivations for joining, training and education during service, military job specialization, reasons for separating from service and the overall service experience, influence transition strategies among service members. Preliminary findings suggest that service members that joined the military to earn education benefits, those that separated from the military voluntarily, those with service related disabilities and those that are informed about the use of GI bill education benefits are more likely to pursue post-service education as a transition strategy and utilize education benefits as a support mechanism in that transition. We also find that service members with positive or successful service experiences and perceptions have higher educational aspirations and report positive perceptions about the postsecondary education environment. These findings suggest that military and education institutions must coordinate to provide multiple support strategies for service members in areas other than health services to maximize successful transitions among the U.S. military service member population.