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Student veterans are reporting increased need for support due to the pandemic, suggests a study from Operation College Promise and the Texas A&M University system. The survey sampled 75 institutional respondents and 230 student veteran respondents.

Students reported difficulties studying and learning, as well as a lack of presence in the community, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the shift to online has been preferential for some military students, others have said that their “educational experience” has been diminished. Student veterans are more likely to have children than other student populations, and several respondents said they struggled to balance their children’s online learning with their own.

The survey also found growing gaps in institutional support for military students, likely caused by financial challenges brought on by the pandemic. Thirty percent of institutional respondents reported cuts in support services to student veterans. While a majority reported that their staffing had remained the same, more institutions reported staffing decreases than reported staffing increases.

Nearly 40 percent noted a reduction in communication between student veterans and staff.

“This is troubling, as this interaction is often the linchpin to a successful transition and the persistence necessary to maximize education benefits. Historically, military students who ‘stop-out’ are unlikely to return to campus,” the report said. “Schools’ ability to adapt to these shifting circumstances cannot be overstated as we strive to keep our military-connected students not only on track, but thriving, in higher education.”