Are Student Veterans a Traditional, Nontraditional, or Special Population? A Study of Veterans on the Auburn University Campus
Type of Degreedissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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This non-experimental study used, with the Educational Testing Service’s permission, an updated 1946 Student Opinion Questionnaire (originally designed to compare WWII veterans and nonveterans) to collect data regarding student backgrounds, attitudes and motives, worries and concerns, use of time, and perceptions of respect concerning nonveterans, professors, the administration, and the campus’ veteran-friendliness. The study’s purpose was to uncover insights into the characteristics of and to understand better the uniquenesses of veterans on the Auburn University (AU) campus, a land-grant institution in Auburn, Alabama. The study occurred during the spring 2011 semester. At that time, the known AU student veteran population (210) comprised 0.89% of the enrolled student population. The final analysis included 48 veterans and 78 nonveterans. This study reports descriptive statistics characterizing the representative AU student veteran. The researcher’s central research question was “What are the defining characteristics of AU’s enrolled student veterans?” To answer this question, five subquestions were employed: 1) What demographic characteristics define AU veterans? 2) How do AU veterans spend their time? 3) What worries and concerns do AU veterans have or experience? 4) How do AU’s veterans perceive respect from fellow veterans, and AU nonveterans, professors, and administrators, and 5) How do AU veterans perceive AU’s veteran-friendliness? The researcher concluded these veterans and their distinctive characteristics mark them as an atypical sub-element of the student body. Specifically, the study found 58.3% of AU veterans were still serving in the military; 38% of AU nonveterans claimed not to know an AU student veteran; female AU veterans felt more disrespect from male AU veterans (37.5%) than from male AU nonveterans (25.0%) while male AU veterans felt little disrespect from male AU veterans (2.6%) and some disrespect from AU nonveterans (15.8%); female AU veterans (12.5%) felt more disrespect from professors than male AU veterans (5.2%) felt from their professors; 70% of veterans felt the AU campus was veteran-friendly; and 31.2% of AU veterans were planning to take longer than the normal time to complete their academic programs.