Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

James McMillan


The postsecondary enrollment of student veterans has increased with the troop draw down in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the generous amendments made to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Acquired disabilities remain a reality for this population as they transition into the civilian world; consequently, previous literature cites the role of disabilities amongst student veterans. Also, prior research often aggregates these two groups without a thorough understanding of the ways in which they differ. This study compared student veterans with disabilities to student veterans without disabilities in order to understand the enrollment and demographic factors on which they differed, if any. Using a secondary data analysis of the 2007-2008 National Postsecondary Student Aid Survey, univariate tests of significance, a logistic regression, and a discriminant function analysis examined the relationship between disability status and seven predictor variables: age, gender, GPA, major, risk index, degree program type, and whether or not a student was exclusively a distance learner. These seven variables as a whole were not significant predictors of disability status; however, the models provided valuable insight into the similarities and characteristics shared within this population. Univariate tests of significance revealed that students with disabilities had a significantly lower mean GPA, were more often male, tended to favor certain academic majors over others, more often enrolled in bachelor’s degree versus associate and certificate programs, and had a lower risk of attrition based on their index of risk. Major, degree program type, and risk index proved to be the most significant predictors of disability status in LR and DFA. A student veteran’s age and whether they were a distance learner had no significant bearing on disability status indicating that student veterans enroll in distance learning or campus-based programs without influence from an orthopedic or mobility impairment, the most common type of disability amongst student veterans. This study offers a full description of student veterans with disabilities including the specific types of disabilities with which this population enters higher education.


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Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2012

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