Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership

Committee Director

Dana Burnett

Committee Member

Mitchell R. Williams

Committee Member

Rebekah Cole


With the reduction of U.S. involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of veterans seeking higher education has increased. The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill has made education more affordable and accessible to service members and their families. Veterans have many choices when deciding which institution to attend, including community colleges, four-year public universities, private four-year colleges, and private for-profit institutions. Each institution has something different to offer with regard to programs and services. Since the enactment of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, both community colleges and private for-profit institutions have experienced increased enrollment of student veterans. This study explored and examined factors affecting student veterans’ decisions to attend a private for-profit institution of higher education and why many of these students later decided to transfer to a two-year public institution or community college.

Interviews explored the lived experiences of student veterans regarding college choice and transfer. As institutions of higher education renew their focus on student veterans, it is paramount to understand the needs of this unique population. The results of this study promise to provide a better understanding of the college experiences of student veterans in pursuit of higher education.


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