A spring 2022 assessment from Georgetown University’s Military and Veterans’ Resource Center (MAVRC) reveals that the university’s military-connected student enrollment increased by 110% from 2013 to 2021. Enrollment of non-military-connected students at Georgetown, meanwhile, increased by 7%. Approximately 9% of Georgetown graduate students and 1% of Georgetown undergraduates are military-connected.
Among the military-connected students surveyed for the report, 64% said they felt a sense of belonging at Georgetown, which mirrors findings from Georgetown’s undergraduate and graduate campus climate surveys. In addition, Georgetown’s military-connected students have an overall degree completion rate of 85%, compared with 53% for student veterans nationally.
A closer look at the military-connected student population
To explore the needs of Georgetown’s military-connected students—and how the MAVRC can best meet those needs—researchers looked at student enrollment and outcomes data, led focus groups with 46 military-connected students, analyzed survey responses from 173 military-connected students, and conducted a literature review.
Nationally, this generation of military-connected students is the most diverse in U.S. history in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender, says the report. Nearly half of all U.S. student veterans have children and are married, and 62% are first generation college students. Noting that the military-to-civilian transition can be challenging, the report says that military-connected students may require additional support compared to traditional college students, which MAVRC offers through academic advising and wraparound services for Georgetown’s 1,200-some military-connected students.
Support leads to greater enrollment, sense of belonging
Asked about the admissions process, 63% of military-connected students said that Georgetown’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program (YRP)—which finances part or all of military-connected students’ tuition and fees not covered by the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill—was a critical factor in choosing to attend the university. In July, Georgetown University announced its plans to increase main campus undergraduate benefits for military-connected students from $5,000 to $8,000 per year.
Such increases in YRP funding may have an influential role in military-student enrollment growth, the report suggests. In 2014, Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS)—the academic home for more than 44% of the university’s military-connected students—increased its graduate-level YRP contributions from $4,825 to $16,668. That year, SCS’s military-connected student enrollment rose by 22%, compared with its average year-to-year increase of 15%.
Georgetown Law similarly increased its YRP contributions in 2013 and 2017. In both years, military-connected student enrollment increased by more than 30%, far exceeding its average year-to-year increase of 8%. The McDonough School of Business and Graduate School of the Arts and Sciences experienced similar enrollment trends when they increased YRP contributions.
Evaluating the needs of Military-connected students
The report also explores the challenges students face in their initial separation from military life and in their day-to-day college experience, highlighting the difficulty some military-connected students have understanding health care, translating their military skills to the civilian setting, and financial planning.
MAVRC’s findings also suggest that there are opportunities to improve the university’s outreach to military-connected students through tailored programming. Thirty-six percent of military-connected students reported receiving orientation tailored to their needs, while 28% said they received career advising tailored to their unique experiences. Expanding YRP funding also is a priority, the report states, given its “influential role in attracting and retaining military-connected students.”