Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Increasing numbers of student veterans in the United States are transitioning into a higher education culture that reflects major differences from the military culture. Higher education leaders need to understand what these students require and what will help them transition smoothly into higher education. The purpose of this quantitative case study was to understand why freshman student veterans stop attending community college temporarily or permanently. Schlossberg's transition model that includes the 4 concepts of situation, self, support, and strategies was used as a conceptual framework. The research questions focused on perceptions of student veterans and faculty/staff related to challenges faced by student veterans during their freshman year of college, as well as the support that student veterans need to succeed with their transition into higher education. Data were collected interviewing 8 freshman student veterans and 5 faculty/staff members at a local community college to address the research questions. Qualitative data analysis was used to identify categories and common themes in interview data. The findings from this study showed 3 themes: (a) mismatched environment, (b) leaders/mentors/friendships, and (c) veteran community and connections. The study findings may help reduce the number of student veterans who temporarily or permanently withdraw from community college and thus increase the institutional completion rates. Based on the findings, a 3-day professional development/training program was created that incorporates both online learning and face-to-face engagement. The project outcomes may lead to positive social change by increasing responsiveness to student veterans and removing barriers when transitioning into a higher education culture.