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A comparison of postsecondary outcomes for Army service members, Veterans, and civilians

Despite broad public interest in Veterans' education, there is relatively little evidence documenting the postsecondary trajectories of military service members after they return to civilian life. In the current report we investigate how U.S. Army service member college enrollment and progression trends compare to a similar population of civilians, using Army administrative personnel data merged with administrative records from the National Student Clearinghouse and the Educational Longitudinal Study (ELS) of 2002. Civilians were nearly three times as likely to enroll in college within one year of high school graduation (or one year of separation). Civilians were also much more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree within the period of study than either of the Army samples. While members of minority race/ethnicity groups in both military samples enroll at higher rates than their white counterparts, racial/ethnic minorities do not graduate at higher rates than their white counterparts. We discuss policy implications of our analyses in the final section of our paper.

veterans education, educational attainment, college completion, inequality
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Barr, Andrew C., Kelli A. Bird, Ben Castleman, and William Skimmyhorn. (). A comparison of postsecondary outcomes for Army service members, Veterans, and civilians. (EdWorkingPaper: 19-50). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University:

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