Incoming Students – Fall 2011 • According to the Admissions Office, 7116 undergraduates were admitted and paid their fees for the Fall 2011 quarter. • 1.6% of those students are a veteran or veteran dependent receiving fee impacted benefits. • Not all veterans request these benefits, so the percentage may be higher.
Our Student-Veterans • Over 460 students were using veteran benefits last year. • As of September 1, 2011 560 veterans identified as using benefits. • This number will likely increase as not all students have submitted paperwork to use the GI Bill. • Not all veterans use the GI Bill or veteran benefits.
State Numbers • CSU reported that 2.8% of students in 2010 were veterans. • CSULA had 2.1% of students that were known veterans in 2010-2011. • California has the largest number of OIF/OEF veterans (over 2.2 million) • 30% of those live in Southern California
What Are They Coming to us With? • These new student-veterans have different needs from our “traditional” college student.
Deployments • Based on DoD figures, 48.2 % of active duty troops and 20.8% of National Guard and Reserve troop have been deployed at least once in OIF/OEF. • It is not unheard of for veterans to have 42 months of deployment, rivaling the 45 months it took the United States to fight WWII or the 48 months the Civil War lasted.
Combat • OIF/OEF veterans are more likely to face continuing difficulty after returning from combat due to “invisible injuries”. • Due to increases in field medicine, more soldiers are coming home with injuries never before experienced in prior wars. • Suicide rates are increasing, both “in country” and at home. • 18 veterans commit suicide each day.
Combat Veterans • Divorces are on the rise for active-duty and veterans due to combat-related issues. • Many of our student-veterans have children. • 11% of the ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are women, and often are not recognized for their service.
Post Deployment • Unemployment due to: • A college degree can help veterans make a successful transition to civilian life. • Lack of transferable skills • Lack of degree • Lack of options
What Do They Expect? • Mission driven. • Everyone has a job that is contingent on someone else completing their assignment. • Timelines are firm and immediate. • Graduation is viewed as a mission. • Used to a chain of command.
What Does CSULA Offer? • Golden Eagle Vets, a member of Student Veterans of America. • Monthly VA disability claims taken on site with AMVETS. • Professional mentors, such as deputy chiefs in police departments, judges, news anchors, and business owners.
What Does CSULA Offer? • Small group interactions. • Female veteran support. • Peer-to-peer mentoring. • Training for faculty and staff.
Acquired Disabilities • Up to 400,000 veterans may have at least a mild case of Traumatic Brain Injury, though not all are officially diagnosed. • At least 20% of veterans have PTSD (according to the VA).
Traumatic Brain Injury • Headaches • Anxiety • Memory Problems • Attention Span • Trouble Sleeping • Difficulty Organizing • Vision Issues • Confusion • Behavior Issues • Impulse Control • Depression • Irritability • Short Fuse • Tiredness • Light-headed or Dizzy • Sensitivity to Light and Sounds • Diminished Problem Solving • Remembering How They Used to Be
Post Traumatic Stress Not everyone has it, and many can overcome the symptoms, especially with therapy. Rumination Nightmares Vivid memories Strong reactions Numb or detached Avoiding people or places Repressing the event Startle easily Irritability Anger issues Looking around Trouble sleeping Depression Concentration problems Anxiety Confusion • Re-experiencing the event • Avoidance of people and places that may trigger memories • Hyper-vigilance
In the Classroom - TBI • Students may be inconsistent, and may require more explanation of the steps required to complete assignments. • Use office hours to show what success looks like and set goals. • Use written communication when possible so students can review your notes and feedback. • Students with TBI can be successful!
In the Classroom - PTSD • Be flexible if the student needs to adjust seating location. • Be aware that situations or statements in class assignments may be triggering events. • Encourage students to take ownership and create an environment that is conducive to learning when possible. • Give advanced warning when changing assignments and due dates as that can be a stressor.
What Does That All Mean??? • Military students present different experiences than many of our adult students. • Some of the responses we see to situations will be different than we expect. • Expectations on all side need to be understood.
The Bright Side! • Maturity – Veterans often have more maturity than their peers based on their life experiences and responsibilities. • Empowered – Military training provides veterans with the ability to make decisions and the necessary skills to carry out their decisions. • Pride – Veterans have a great sense of pride in their military values. • Resiliency– In the face of challenging circumstances veterans rise to the expectations and perform their duties, even in the face of adversity.