Last year a joint effort of the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), National Student Clearinghouse, and Students Veterans of America (SVA) gave new insight to how our most recent Veterans are using their GI Bill and how they are performing. The report, named the Million Records Project (MRP), was our first look at previously unavailable data to help us adapt policy to better serve student Veterans.
The report provided much needed data on GI Bill students and their academic outcomes, but only reported on high level outcomes, such as completion, time-to-degree, and level of education.
The National Veteran Education Success Tracker (NVEST) is the next phase of this research and builds upon those initial findings. On Oct. 29, VBA, the Clearinghouse, and SVA signed a Memorandum of Understanding to begin this next phase.
In the next phase, the sample we research will allow us to see when—in their academic careers—student Veterans withdraw from school, how often they transfer among schools, and how long they remain enrolled. Measuring these outcomes is critical to empowering colleges and universities to better support their student Veteran population, and NVEST will identify when Veterans need that support the most.
The sample will include student Veterans who used the Post-9/11 GI Bill from its inception (August 2009) through the end of 2013, providing a comprehensive look at the substantial investment made by both Veterans and taxpayers.
We expect to release initial findings beginning Spring 2016, and I look forward to sharing our findings and insights.
Curtis Coy is VA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity