PERSPECTIVES OF VETERANS IN HIGHER EDUCATION: EXPLORING THE TERM "STUDENT VETERAN" AND THE IDENTITY SHIFTS BETWEEN MILITRAY AND COLLEGE
Hernandez Baron, Paola Maria
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Given changes in the G.I Bill, warfare, and higher education, post 9/11 veterans are a unique and expanding college student population. The purpose of this narrative inquiry study was to better understand how post 9/11 student veterans perceive and identify with the term "student veteran." The findings suggest that "student veteran" is more than a label and shares some qualities of a social identity. The participants wanted to be treated as "regular students," but also valued what the term "student veteran" signifies including a unique sociohistorical, cultural, and personal context and history that framed their academic experience. Participants described the term as a way to uphold military culture amidst the more ambiguous college culture. Participants felt the term carries imposed meanings and judgments different from that which participants themselves attribute to it. Findings suggest both theoretical and applied implications for expanded cultural competency around interacting with heterogeneous student veteran populations.