Operation Integration: The culture of student veterans

Amanda Kraus, Ph. D.
Nick Rattray
Dan Standage
UA Veterans in Higher Ed Conference
September 17, 2010
Influx of student veterans to higher
 Enrollment in Community Colleges or Vocational
Institutions on the rise
Post-9/11 G.I. Bill expanded benefits
Complex transitions to civilian life and
life with disability
Students with military experience make up about 4% of
undergraduate students.
Compared to traditional undergraduate students, veterans
tend to be older and are more likely to be non-white.
Although only seven percent of the armed forced were
women in 2006, 27% of all student veterans in 2007-08 were
Around half of undergraduates with military experience
received veterans educational benefits at public four-year
universities. In 2007-2008, 12 percent of military
undergraduates attended for-profit institutions, which is a
rate three times higher than traditional undergraduates.
As of September 2009, the number of American
troops who have been injured is 35,390, 46% of
whom could return to duty within 72 hours.
The rate for mental health and cognitive issues
following return from deployment was 14% for
major depression, 14% from PTSD, and 19% for a
probable Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). RAND
estimates that the cost from PTSD-related and
depression costs could range from $4.0 to $6.2
billion over two years.
Philosophy on program development
Disabled Veterans Reintegration
and Education
Education and
Transition Services
(V.E.T.S.) Initiative
VETS Office
Student Veterans of America at the
University of Arizona
SERV Classes
GI Bill counseling
Network of point people on and off campus
PTSD support group and on-site VA
Veterans in Higher Education Conference
Veterans in Higher Education National
Rites of passage
Shared experiences
Access issues related to higher education
Cohort mentality
Consider student
veterans as a
cultural group.
How does your
campus support
this identity?
What are the challenges associated with
supporting this identity?
Department of Defense disability statistics
VA disability rating and benefits
Physical versus “other” disabilities
Self-imposed “hierarchy”
 Combat-related injury
 Service-related injury
 Non-service-related injury
“Wounded warrior” and “battalion”– language in
Potential of adaptive athletics
Universal design of office
 Physical access
 Assistive technology on all computers
Partner with DRC events
 Athletics
 Philanthropy
DRC/Mental Health marketing in VETS
First-hand referrals
DRC contacts
Strong relationship with local VA
The social model of disability promotes
disability as a sociopolitical construct, not an
individual impairment.
What challenges do the DOD disability statistics
and the VA disability rating system pose to
operationalizing the social model of disability?
Disability identity?
Reflect on the “hierarchy”
students veterans
use to make
meaning of disability? What
implications might this have
for service provision?
Radford, A. W. (2009). Military service members and veterans in
higher education: What the new GI bill may mean for
postsecondary institutions. Washington, D.C.: American Council on
US Department of Defense
Tanielian, T., & Jaycox, L. H. (2008). Invisible wounds of war :
Psychological and cognitive injuries, their consequences, and
services to assist recovery. Santa Monica: Center for Military
Health Policy Research, RAND.
U.S. Census Bureau, 2005-2007 American Community Survey.

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