Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Cheryl A. Getz, EdD, Chairperson: Paula A. Cordeiro, EdD, Member; Fred J. Galloway, EdD


veterans, military, GI Bill, higher education, college choice, university


The Post-9/11 GI Bill was implemented in 2009. Since then more than 1,900,000 people have used the benefit and more than $90 billion have been paid to institutions of higher learning and to Post-9/11 GI Bill users. During this period there has been a shift in the types of college and universities veterans attend, as well as the educational models they select. These shifts are different than the general population of students. This period also included a spike in questionable recruiting practices by some colleges. In response to many institutions taking advantage of veterans, the President of the United States in 2012 published an Executive Order that condemned malicious recruiting practices and provided guidelines for working with veterans on campuses. This executive order and the majority of academic studies related to veterans in higher education do not focus on the period prior to matriculation.

The purpose of this study was to examine how Post-9/11 Marine Corps and Navy veterans make meaning of the college choice process, how they decide which university or college to consider and apply for, how they decide which educational model to attend, and in what ways emotions influence the college choice process. Twelve student veterans were interviewed, and marketing and recruiting materials (aimed at veterans) were examined to better understand the college choice process for student veterans.

The significance of this study is in providing data to colleges and universities that could influence their recruitment and outreach practices in order to better serve these potential students. Additionally, practitioners that work with veterans will be able to use these data to better inform their work with student veterans.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies