Schools, now more than ever, are struggling to hit enrollment goals and fill classrooms as more high school seniors choose not to attend college. Another objective at the forefront of most schools is the mission to cultivate diverse and inclusive environments. One often overlooked demographic that can help on both fronts is the military community.
By actively recruiting veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses, schools can not only create a melting pot of unique experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives but benefit financially. In this article, we will explore the value, experience, diversity, and financial advantages that military students bring to their schools.
Here are just a few reasons why schools are starting to target the military community:
1) Experience and Leadership:
Veterans and transitioning service members are not your typical college freshman. They bring a level of maturity, a wealth of real-world experience, and leadership skills, that set them up for academic success and give them the tools to make meaningful impacts on their campus.
A study conducted by the Student Veterans of America found that student veterans have a higher graduation rate (51.7%) compared to the national average (47%). This speaks to the determination, discipline, and ability that come with military students. Not to mention that it’s a renewable source of students with more than 200,000 transitioning servicemembers leaving the military every year.
2) Work Ethic and Resilience:
There is no experience quite like that of military service. A survey conducted by Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families found that 86% of student veterans believed their military experience prepared them to work harder to accomplish their goals, and demonstrated their determination and work ethic in academic pursuits.
While an 8:10 am lecture on the other side of campus may seem daunting to your average incoming freshman, it’s a walk in the park for military students. Whether your talking about service members, military spouses, or even dependents, they are all used to fast-paced, and changing environments. They’re adaptable, reliable, and don’t shy away from hard work.
Did you know that the military community is the largest subset of diverse talent in the world? So what does this mean? Comprised of individuals of a multitude of backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities, there are more than 10 million people across the military community, 41% of which identify as a member of a minority group. Enrolling more military students introduces new perspectives, helps promote a culture of inclusivity, and helps to diversify your campus.
4) Untapped Market Potential:
The military community is often an underrepresented group and an overlooked and untapped market for higher education, vocational schools, and everything in between. While this may be considered a niche group, it’s also an enormous ecosystem. Take a look:
- Active Military
- Active Duty: 1.3 Million+
- Guard & Reserve: 1 Million+
- Transitioning Out Each Year: 200,000+
- Total DoD Force and Family: 4.6 Million+
- Out of the Service: 18 Million+
- Working Age: 10 Million+
- Military Spouses
- Active Duty Spouses: 605,000+
- Guard & Reserve Spouses: 363,000+
Colleges, Universities, and Trade Schools, are increasingly recruiting from the military but the are only beginning to scratch the surface. The enrollment potential is unlimited with new faces entering and exiting the service every year.
5) Financial Benefits:
Not only do military and veteran students perform academically, make positive contributions to campus life, and help bring new diverse perspectives, but they also help schools tap into a range of financial benefits. The GI Bill is the most notable.
The GI Bill is an educational assistance program for veterans and their dependents financially with everything from providing funding for tuition to housing allowances. By enrolling military students who are eligible for GI Bill benefits, institutions can bolster their enrollment numbers and receive financial support from this federal program.
The benefit to the veteran is apparent, “free” money and a lack of debt. But what does it mean for the school? Guaranteed tuition checks made out to your institution by the United States Government.
Recruiting from the military community goes far beyond the idea that it’s, “the right thing to do.” These are not your typical students. They’re older, more responsible, proven, and experienced. It’s abundantly clear why schools across the country are implementing targeted recruitment efforts to try to attract, connect, and engage with the military audience.
If you’d like to learn more, discuss how you can develop a military recruitment program, or improve on your existing efforts, just fill out the form below.