Spotlight Brief 2 | Today’s Scholars: A closer look at majors that student veterans are pursuing

By Chris Cate, Vice President of Research, Student Veterans of America

 

What came to be called the GI Bill of Rights (Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944) would later be referred to as the single most transformative bill of the twentieth century. The bill helped educate an estimated 8 million veterans of “The Greatest Generation,” producing Nobel Prize winners, Supreme Court Justices, three Presidents, Pulitzer Prize winners, teachers, scientists, doctors, engineers, plus a million lawyers, nurses, businessmen, artists, actors, writers, pilots and others in a variety of categories.

 

Major BubblesToday, colleges in the US are currently seeing the largest flood of student veterans since WWII and while most research on student majors and field of study focus on retrospective studies after degree completion, SVA Spotlight, a series of research briefs exploring the SVA 2015 Census, provides us with a measurement of the majors and fields of study that student veterans are currently pursuing. By analyzing the primary majors reported by student veterans who responded to the 2015 SVA Census Survey that we released, we are able to estimate which majors or fields of study student veterans are pursuing.

 

Each month, the SVA Spotlight research brief highlights some of the key takeaways and provides basic demographic information on student veterans to institutions, organizations, and the public.

 

This month’s SVA Spotlight provides an in-depth analysis of which majors or fields of study student veterans are pursuing. What we found from this analysis was that student veterans and military-connected students pursue a wide variety of degrees and majors while enrolled, however, Business-related and STEM fields of study stand out as top choices among student veterans.  

 

Compared with other research into student veteran completion rates and STEM-related training, the results show a potential shortfall between the percentages of military service members trained in STEM and the percentage of student veterans reporting a primary major in STEM fields.

 

This would suggest that there is a potential loss in the investment the U.S. military spends on STEM training and specialization and its carryover to the civilian workforce. While the potential causes for this shortfall are out of the scope of the SVA 2015 Census, it is our hope that this brief begins a conversation on investigating the causes for this loss and potential ways of minimizing it.

31 percent stem

This kind of data is becoming more crucial as elected officials continue to take veterans’ education into consideration. It is our hope that this data will help schools allocate resources for incoming student veterans and aid employers in preparing for student veterans entrance into the workforce. 

Top 5 in STEM

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