Does the GI Bill Support Educational Attainment for Veterans with Disabilities? Implications for Current Veterans in Resuming Civilian Life

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Vol: 36, Issue: 4

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Smith-Osborne, Alexa
GI Bill; disabilities; veterans; Veterans Administration; resiliency; life trajectory; educational attainment; ADA; accommodations; assistive technology; Military and Veterans Studies; Social Work; Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling
article description
A secondary data analysis of the 2001 National Survey of Veterans (NSV) for 2075 Gulf War-era veterans was conducted to investigate whether the GI Bill (the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, most recent provisions of which have been entitled the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 9/11 GI Bill), considered as a social welfare policy, demonstrated protective effects for veterans with disabilities in terms of successful re-entry and sustained enrollment in higher education. Regression analyses to test the mediation effects of use of the GI Bill, use of non-Veterans' Administration (VA)financial aid, and use of VA health services suggested mediation effects; however, post hoc testing did not yield significant results. Analysis of this and an alternative multiple mediator model using bootstrapping strategies for assessing indirect effects suggested that total and non-labor income and social support, not the GI Bill, mediate the effects of disability on educational attainment among this population. Implications for social welfare policies and programs to support this population's access to and success in post-secondary institutions are highlighted.