The transition from military veteran to life as a college student is filled with many challenges and decisions (Reynolds, 2013). The challenges these “non-traditional” students face are unique. This qualitative study explored the transition experiences of eight male and three female student veterans from five different military branches at a large, public university with very high research activity to better understand the challenges these first or second year students encounter as they enter in as new college students and to better discern how they seek and receive financial information and resources. Understanding this transition and the associated challenges is important for institutions of higher education so they can better assist student veterans as they navigate through critical financial decisions, particularly during their first couple of years. A 12-question interview was conducted and a constant comparative method was used to segment data into categories, which were then synthesized into themes. Using Nancy Schlossberg’s Transition Theory as the conceptual framework for this study, several themes were revealed that related to challenges during student veterans’ transition, including balancing family, work, and service obligations, as well as issues with social transition and relating to other students. These can be barriers to successful integration and engagement to life as a college student. Administrative issues and concerns associated with the students’ veteran status at both the federal and institutional level were also identified. Student veterans, even in their early college years, were concerned with future decisions related to possible unpaid or low-paying internships and potential difficulty in finding a job after they graduated. The interviews also revealed the various ways and sources by which students receive and seek financial information during their transition, including family members, the military, institutional resources, and other student veterans on campus. Student veterans shared the ways in which they worked through various challenges, including attending the student veteran-specific orientation, connecting with other students at the veteran transition center on campus, establishing a network of friends, family, or fellow veterans, ensuring that an ample amount of money was saved prior to transitioning to college, as well as self-identifying that their advanced age and maturity helped them to push through various transition obstacles and barriers.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.September 2016. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Jean King. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 267 pages.
Understanding the Financial Education, Information, and Resource Needs of Military Veterans Transitioning into College.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.