Date of Award

5-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

C. Michael Robinson

Abstract

Military veterans, ranging in age from 22 to 27, have been returning home in large numbers to enter college, but few are graduating. The phenomenological research study consisted of 10 telephone interviews with young military veterans who ranged in age from 23 to 31 (1 European American female, 4 European American males, 2 Hispanic males, 2 African American males, and 1 Asian male) who attended college for two or more semesters. The interviews were recorded and coded in a search for common themes that would uncover potential issues to persisting in college. Through content analysis, three themes were derived: communication, trust, and support. The three themes were viewed through three lenses: their personal lives, the college experience, and the Veterans Administration. Results showed participants struggled with relationships with family and friends. Policy development should include Post 9/11 GI Bill to extend coverage beyond 36 months. More colleges should provide veteran catered services that assist with paperwork and class structure. The VA should increase efficiency for veterans to receive uninterrupted funding for college expenses that include housing. Once the student receives acceptance to a college, the VA should provide immediate and long term healthcare services that cover the initial physical to enter college and mental health services throughout a college degree. There are many factors that can elicit greater communication, support, and trust building for veterans who have attended college. These factors can result in increased rates of graduation from undergraduate institutions within the United States.

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