Vets sign up for college, but how many graduate?

In three years, the Post-9/11 GI Bill has helped 860,000 vets go to school. But little is known about how veterans’ graduation or employment rates, reports NPR.

Most student veterans choose community colleges or for-profit colleges. At Cayuga Community College, a small school in rural, upstate New York, the number of vets went up by 400 percent after the new bill went into effect in 2009, says Sarah Yaw.

Many were the first in their families to go to college. She formed a consortium with other educators in the upstate area to provide special counseling for the new students.

There are no national statistics on veterans’ graduation rates, and that lack of data recently led to a slight panic among supporters.

Some press accounts cited information that said only 3 percent of vets were getting degrees. Veterans’ advocates quickly debunked that number, but it just pointed to a need for data.

Michael Dakduk, executive director of Student Veterans of America, is working on a database to track nearly 1 million new student veterans, who’ve received $24 billion and counting in aid. The Department of Veterans Affairs also plans to track success rates.

However, education statistics that track “first-time, full-time students” leave out many veterans and other nontraditional students.