As veterans return to civilian life and enroll in college, many struggle to obtain academic credit for the training and education they received in service. With more than 1 million veterans having used the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, colleges and universities must better understand the challenges veterans face. And they must help address those challenges by doing a better job of recognizing veterans’ learning.

This report examines veterans’ experiences with having their military learning credited by a college or university. Broadly, it found that most veterans were dissatisfied with the credit they received.


  • Nearly half (48%) of veterans surveyed said opportunities for military credit recognition were an important factor in deciding which institution to attend.
  • About 80% tried to get credit for military training, compared to 60% for their military occupation. Findings differed by race and gender. Female students and students of color were less likely to try to get credit recognized.
  • Experiences varied at the individual and institution levels. Some colleges and universities had a streamlined process that started at registration. Others lacked clear guidelines. Academic advisors and on-campus student veterans centers provided valuable guidance.
  • Most student veterans (64%) received some academic credit for their military training; 21% received none.
  • Most (62%) said credit recognition affected their academic experience. Of those students, the majority said credit recognition affected their time to degree completion.


  • Institutions and those supporting student veterans should not assume a one-size-fits-all path.
  • Institutions should educate non-veteran students, faculty, and staff about how best to include and engage veteran students. They also should work with and support on-campus veterans’ organizations.
  • Veterans are adult learners who bring valuable identities and experiences. Institutions must understand and support veterans so they can leverage these strengths.

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