Veterans Who Head To College Lack Support, Study Finds

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AP Photo/Seth Perlman

In this photo taken, June 11, 2009, Sean Donnellan, a U.S. Army veteran of the Iraq War, is seen in the library on campus at Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. For student veterans like Donnellan who live outside high-cost areas, it makes more sense to stick with the old GI Bill and Illinois Veterans Grant rather than the new federal benefit, which will pay them less.

Veterans returning from military service are enrolling in college in huge numbers. But for many, the transition is very hard  -- and according to a new study, colleges don't offer them much help.

Here's a report from NPR's Claudio Sanchez:

"Culture shock" is the way some veterans describe their transition from military life to college life on campus. Most don't feel they fit it in. And often, institutions don't make it any easier. That's what researchers with the National Survey of Student Engagement found after interviewing 11,000 veterans attending four-year schools.

Compared to regular students, most veterans seldom interact with instructors. They're less likely to sign up for internships or study-abroad programs. And one in five has a disability. Veterans say schools don't offer them support services that might help them better connect with campus life, socially or academically.

Veterans are also more likely to transfer or enroll part-time, because they're often juggling work and family. Researchers say college officials are not doing nearly enough to help veterans succeed.

Over at the Military Times Edge site, you can find a list that ranks which colleges are the best bets for veterans hoping to continue their education.

In addition to the GI Bill, U.S. military veterans are eligible for a number of grants, from both the federal and state governments. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit

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