There is a lack of research on military veterans in higher education that captures the issues from an insider’s perspective. To that end, I sought to reflect upon my own experiences with higher education as military veteran—from a budding recruit all the way through to now being an administrator and faculty member. I utilized a layered-account autoethnographic approach (Ronai, 1995) to interrogate my multiple perspectives that developed over time on veterans’ issues in higher education. I found that the GI Bill—the modern iteration of the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944—was a powerful motivator both in starting my military career and continuing my studies; my thinking on transfer credits from the Joint Service Transcript evolved from seeing them as an entitlement to lacking rigor. I felt out of place as I left the military and attended a traditional university campus, and then I sought out the faculty members who reminded me of the no-nonsense military from which I had departed. My experiences in the military continually guided my behavior as a student and that of other student veterans I observed, thus, I recommend that institutions glean lessons from these experiences to better serve the unique demographic presented by the growing population of student veterans.


Autoethnography, Veterans in Higher Education, GI Bill

Author Bio(s)

Phillip A. Olt is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education Student Affairs at Fort Hays State University. He earned his Ed.D. in Educational Administration (Adult & Postsecondary) from the University of Wyoming. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: paolt@fhsu.edu.

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