New Partnership to Focus on Veterans' Graduation and Retention Rates

New Partnership to Focus on Veterans' Graduation and Retention Rates

January 09, 2013

Data on the academic performance of student veterans is relatively sparse. A new collaboration could make graduation and retention rates available to the public, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) approved a memorandum of agreement formalizing a partnership between the agency and the National Student Clearinghouse. 

Student Veterans of America, a leading advocacy group for student veterans, noted their concern about the possibility of budget cuts affecting GI Bill benefits for veterans. As a result, the student-led group helped to broker the agreement between the department and the non-profit clearinghouse to demonstrate that those benefits are paying dividends.

"The best measurements of success are completion rates," Eric K. Shinseki, U.S. secretary of veterans affairs, said while speaking at the national conference of Student Veterans of America. "Degrees, certificates of completion, certifications, licensing “ that to me is how you measure. Not who goes in the front door, but who completes the program."

"This kind of collaboration is critical for us, and critical for you all as well," he added.

In June 2011, the VA asked institutions to begin voluntarily reporting graduation rates and program-completion rates. From June 2011 to December 2012, 2,600 institutions reported on 62,000 veterans who had graduated, as well as 4,800 who had completed non-degree training programs at vocational or technical schools. More data is needed to bolster the case for the GI Bill's return on investment, though, Mr. Shinseki said.

Under the new agreement, the department will provide the National Student Clearinghouse with information on up to a million beneficiaries of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill. In 2008, the Post-9/11 GI Bill replaced the Montgomery GI Bill, which took effect in 1984 and was the primary education benefit for veterans up to that point. The clearinghouse will compare the data with its own to determine how many veterans graduate, reports the Chronicle.


Related Links:

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Inside Higher Ed

Michelle Cormier Mott

Government Relations