Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Who's Got My Six? Understanding the Experiences and Transitional Challenges of California Community College Student Veterans and Their Pursuit of a Bachelor's Degree
by Garcia, Eric R., Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2017, 222; 10276749
Abstract (Summary)

With the concentrated government effort to withdraw U.S. armed forces from the ongoing foreign conflicts, millions of veterans are anticipated to transition back into American culture over the next several years. Once discharged, many veterans turn to the California community college (CCC) system for assistance with initiating their Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefit and societal reintegration. As a historically disenfranchised student population, countless student veterans arrive at CCCs with physical and emotional traumas stemming from combat, lack college readiness, and have civilian adjustment difficulties. While all students in the CCC system have flexibility with persisting at a pace conducive with their academic skill, readiness, and motivation, student veterans have added internal stressors of transferring at an accelerated rate due to the time limitations of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

The purpose of this study is to explore the transitional experiences of student veterans who leveraged their Post-9/11 G.I. Bill at a CCC in pursuit of a timely transfer to a university. A qualitative interview was utilized to understand the life transitions CCC student veterans endure and how their experiences may foster or hinder their timely transfer to a university. The sample group included 20 student veteran participants previously enrolled at Rolling Hills Community College (RHCC) and Crescent View Community College (CVCC) located in adjoining counties in Southern California. Purposeful sampling was employed to elicit information rich cases for in-depth study that have experienced the central phenomenon of interest and provide answers to the questions under study.

Four major themes emerged that describe the experiences that may foster or hinder a timely transfer from a community to four-year college. Themes that fostered a timely transfer included developing self and solidifying personal identity and community of support. Themes that hindered a timely transfer included managing the transition and racing against time.

Anderson, Goodman, and Schlossberg’s (2012) framework of moving in, moving through, and moving out, in conjunction with the 4 S System of support, was the theoretical framework utilized to analyze the findings. Recommendations based on the findings of this study include increasing the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill allotment, establishing a Post-9/11 financial awareness and literacy training program, mandating enrollment in the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system, streamlining college counseling services, and broadening research efforts to examine the academic outcomes of student veterans.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Vega, William
Commitee: Adrian, Loretta, Haviland, Don
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 78/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Counseling Psychology, Higher education
Keywords: Community college, G.I. Bill, Higher education, Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, Transfer, Veterans
Publication Number: 10276749
ISBN: 978-1-369-83024-8
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