Some of the challenges young veterans face in the civilian labor market can be traced to their lower rates of graduation from community colleges and four-year schools, along with a greater reliance on for-profit colleges, according to a Brookings Institution researcher.
Veterans younger than 30 are much less educated than their peers, according to a commentary by Jonathan Rothwell, a fellow at the think tank’s metropolitan policy program. Only 30 percent of veterans aged 25 to 30 have completed an associate’s degree or higher, compared to 44 percent of their non-veteran peers. Veterans aged 36 to 64, however, only trail their non-veteran peers by 2 percentage points in degree completion.
Young veterans also lag their civilian peers in completing college, an outcome most likely due to their higher propensity to attend for-profit colleges, according to Rothwell. Based on resumes in Monster.com, veterans on average attend their highest level of education at an institution with an on-time graduation rate of just 24 percent, compared to 38 percent for the U.S. overall. Younger veterans also are significantly more likely to have attended a for-profit college than older veterans, Rothwell says.
Students attending higher-quality schools benefit in multiple ways, through better graduation rates and higher future earnings. They also are more likely to list higher-value skills on their resume, such as network security, risk management, automation, JAVA programming, critical care nursing, financial forecasting, software development and business development.
“The country needs to better prepare and encourage young veterans to aim higher when it comes to college enrollment, and high-quality colleges and universities need to do a better job of recruiting and retaining veterans,” he concludes.