Date of Award

Fall 12-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Scot Danforth

Second Advisor

Whitney McIntyre Miller

Third Advisor

Martin Brodwin


Since the implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the largest student veteran enrollments have taken place at community colleges. Student veterans are considered at-risk students due to their high attrition rates in higher education. There is a lack of literature regarding the experiences of staff responsible for providing support services to student veterans in higher education. Veterans Resource Center (VRC) is the one-stop center for student veterans to help them navigate administrative processes and address any concerns toward degree completion. Thus, VRCs play a major role in student veterans’ academic success, and further exploration of their experiences and voices is needed.

This study seeks to illuminate the knowledge, expertise, and understanding of the professional practices of VRC staff members in California Community Colleges, where student veterans’ transition takes place the most. Phenomenology served as the guiding methodological framework. The interview was the principal data collection method, which consisted of 15 participants. Findings indicated that student veterans are more prone to experience non-academic hardships than their peers. Mitigating all aspects of each student's personal issues may be outside the scope of influence of any campus service provider. Nonetheless, VRCs strive to enhance student veterans' quality of living and learning. Moreover, being able to identify these hardships and plan for mitigating their intensity can be achieved through a proper referral for where to seek additional help.

Implications for policy include the current California Community College VRC funding formula’s equity gap and how it results in insufficient VRC funding and staffing. Furthermore, it is critical to improve understandings of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, military-affiliated students and dependents, stigmatization of disability, and the transition experiences of student veterans who are not using the GI Bill. As a result of this study, program administrators/directors may better explain how their staff might experience difficulties and potentially improve their service-delivery model. Not all student veterans need the same support, and it is imperative to understand that student veterans' needs may vary from context to context.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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