Making the Transition from Troop to Student: Returning Veterans Consider Resources and Programming at Higher Educational Institutions

As the country concludes more than a decade of fighting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, thousands of recently discharged troops are returning home. Many veterans are faced with the dilemma of what to do upon their return. 

In an effort to assist veterans with returning to school, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 (Post-9/11 Bill) was enacted. This became the most significant increase in education benefits for service members and veterans since the original GI Bill of 1944 that was responsible for the educations of doctors, engineers, businessmen, actors, authors and teachers while offering vocational training to millions more.1 The Post 9-11 GI Bill is designed to provide a similar higher education incentive for the more than 2 million service members who have served in our military forces since September 11, 2001.

The bill also offers assistance in covering tuition and fees for in-state public undergraduate higher education for those veterans who are eligible. Private institutions, graduate education and out-of-state tuition institutions are able to enter into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs where the VA will match institutional contributions to cover added costs.1,2

In December 2012, legislation was passed adding the eligibility for the benefit of 85,000 members of the National Guard and Reserves Troops and further enhanced the applicability of the benefit to vocational training.

Making the Transition from Troop to Student

Higher education institutions need to know how to address the needs of student veterans returning to school and recognize that they are distinctly different from those of the traditional student. With more veterans enrolling to colleges and universities, higher educational facilities are making the adjustments in their curriculum, community support and communication initiatives to best serve this growing demographic.

Typically, student veterans are considered non-traditional students because they are more likely to be older and many have some college credit that they may have earned while in the military.1,2 Because they are a diverse population with a vast range of experiences, their educational experience will be much different than other non-veteran students. Colleges and universities, including National Louis University, across the country are putting programs and services in place to ease the transition from troop to student.

When choosing the appropriate college or university for their educational goals, Veterans should be aware of important and available resources and programs and that will contribute to their success.

1  2  3


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Established in 1988 and located in one of the city's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to six classrooms, this location features a conference room, a computer lab with high-speed Internet access, an extensive research library and comfortable student lounges.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
    Info » | Directions »

    NLU has a proud history of serving graduate students in southeastern Wisconsin. We currently offer all Wisconsin residents online programs in non-licensure education as well as a variety of business-related degrees.

    12000 West Park Place, Suite 100
    Milwaukee, WI 53224-3007
    (414) 577.2658
    Info » | Directions »