The percentage of military students in the U.S. rose to nearly 5 percent following the implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, according to a new brief from the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) Institute of Education Sciences (IES).
The brief compares statistics on military students’ demographics, enrollment, and benefits in both 2007-08 and 2011-12, and shows that education benefits for veterans and aid for military students increased from $4.6 billion to $11.7 billion in that times period.
During fiscal year (FY) 2013, 69 percent of all beneficiaries of veterans’ education benefits received them through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which went into effect in August 2009, according to the brief. The bill increased the benefits military service members who served after September 10, 2001, can receive for their education, including covering the full cost of tuition and fees at a public institution in their state of residence or up to $17,500 at a private or foreign institution. The bill also provided funds for books, supplies, and a separate housing allowance. In comparison, the bill’s predecessor, the Montgomery GI Bill, only provided up to $1,101 per month to military veterans enrolled full-time for living and education expenses.
There were about 1.1 million military students enrolled as undergraduates in 2011-12, the first year the Post-9/11 GI Bill was available, representing 4.9 percent of the 23.1 million total undergraduates enrolled in the U.S. that year. In comparison, military students comprised just 4.5 percent (914,000) of the 20.5 million undergraduates in 2007-08 before the new law took effect. There was not a statistically significant increase in the number of enrolled graduate students who were military. However, there were increases in military subgroups like veterans, whose undergraduate enrollment increased from 668,000 to about 856,00. The number of military reservists who enrolled in graduate studies also saw a large increase from 8,400 in 2007-08 to 18,200 in 2011-12.
The use of veterans’ education benefits by military students between 2007-08 and 2011-12 increased from 36 percent to 55 percent among undergraduate students and from 22 percent to 46 percent among graduate students. There was also an increase in the average amounts awarded to these recipients, increasing from $5,800 to $7,900 for undergraduate students and from $5,600 to $8,200 for graduate students.
Between 2007-08 and 2011-12, there was a 10 percent increase in the number of military undergraduate students attending for-profit two-year or higher institutions, from 14 percent to 24 percent. The percentage of these students attending public two-year institutions dropped from 42 percent to 37 percent.
There was also an increase in the number of undergraduate and graduate military students who participated in online education, with about 18 percent of military undergraduates taking all of their courses online in 2011-12, compared with just 12 percent of their nonmilitary, independent counterparts. Forty-one percent of military graduate students took all of their courses online compared with 19 percent of their nonmilitary counterparts.
Publication Date: 8/31/2016