New G.I. Bill study shows institution type shapes vet outcomes

July 11, 2024
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Two new reports on the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill show that veterans who use their benefits to enroll at private nonprofit institutions and public flagships tend to have higher college completion rates and salaries than those who enroll at for-profit institutions.

Released Wednesday, the reports—one is an overview of the effect of institution type as well as an analysis of the outcomes of veterans who did not use their G.I. Bill and the other a more focused examination of public flagships—were based on studies conducted by a team of researchers from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the American Institutes for Research.

“For decades, the G.I. Bill has been one of the single greatest federal investments in higher education,” said Kelly McManus, vice president of higher education at Arnold Ventures, which provided funding for the research. “For the first time, we finally are getting measurable insight into how different types of institutions are serving veterans. We’re looking forward to policymakers using this data to improve the existing program and push for even more data sharing and transparency.”

The difference in degree completion by institution type was stark; only 41 percent of student veterans at for-profit institutions completed a degree within six years, compared to 58 percent and 61 percent at public and private nonprofit institutions, respectively.

Veterans who graduated from nonprofit institutions also earned an average of $38,600 per year—almost $6,000 more than their peers from for-profit institutions, who earned an average of $32,800.

The reports are the latest in a series on G.I. Bill outcomes. The inaugural report, which looked broadly at the number and characteristics of veterans who used the benefits, was released in February.

All three studies were conducted using interagency data sharing, a practice that has received growing support in recent years. Alexandria Walton Radford, senior director at AIR and co-author of the reports, said they demonstrate the type of insights that can be gleaned from agency collaboration and then practically applied.

“This information not only helps policymakers and leaders better understand the use and outcomes of Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits but also provides useful data and information about broader higher education policies and practices,” she said.



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