1. Left Justification Header – Higher education: Study participants described their personal perspectives and experiences on education beyond GED/High School completion. The shared perspectives and experiences included: (a) trainings (b) education (c) checklist/checking the boxes (c) academic support.

a. Training. Fifteen of 15 student veterans in this study described multiple trainings during their military experience. The participants described the military trainings as attendance at formal military training schools and On-the-Job Training (OJT) in order to meet the requirements of multiple official and unofficial military duties.

i. P14: And that is how military training goes, they are just kind of like the structured school trainings, there’s plenty of training exercises riddled throughout. P14: So I trained for three different MLS is P14: I did. P14: At least one P14: Extra schooling for the P14: Electronics warfare. P14: Basic training. I attended a total of five military schools.

ii. P15: The other two such as being an expert director, as well as a tool home representative, those were more OJT or on the job training. P15: On the job. I couldn’t really make a mistake. So there was a little bit of pressure behind that as well. And you just learned the job but you kind of have to be great at it from day one, or at least week one. Once they take the training wheels off, you really have to be P15: Already on it.

iii. P11: I don’t regret any of my military training.

b. Education – Veterans describe community college as an continuation of their military education entitlement including college funded resources i.e. the Student Achievement and Success Program, tutors, and the veteran center.

i. P12 described the education benefit as extremely. It was 85% of the reason why she joined the Navy. She described education is a meal ticket in the United States. She described education as a personal necessity. She believes that she has to have a degree if you she is to secure a respectable job or if you really want to be taken seriously in this day and time.

ii. Participant’s community college academic majors, courses, and interests included P1: A fine art specifically drawing, painting.: Various forms of printmaking photography: General courses such as English General math courses science courses; P2: human services and also the basically it was a transfer Studies degree and my concentrations were in human services: P4: Psychology. psychology Sociology, marketing, journalism; P7: Got a degree and transfer a just a general transfer degree; P8 : Computer Science and video game development; P9: art classes, drawing and painting color , business communication, event planning, and hospitality. P10: Public Health; P11: Art, cooking, life coaching, entrepreneurship in medical cannabis., building your coaching business; P12 public health; P13: Transfer degree and engine graduate with a fine arts degree; P14; sustainable agriculture, general studies, entrepreneurship in medical cannabis; P15: Product design.

iii. Of 15 participants, 0 reported participants reported alignment of their community college course or credential to their previous military career specialty.

iv. 15 participants excluded their military training in their total courses taken self-reported calculations.

v. P8 : Um, I joined the Marine Corps really because I did not really know what I wanted to do after high school. You know, I knew I did not want to go to college immediately

vi. P5: So I just decided to go ahead and go and see the world and you get the benefits for, you know, the GI Bill. Cool.

vii. P6: I: Needed another trade. I wanted something different different. I put it in my mind, of being in the mind for that I was going to learn about computers.

c. Checklist/checkboxes –

i. P1: I don’t really think it’s a it’s a question of adjustment.P1: I’ve been told by many people. -: Peers, and -: superiors, especially in the military that I was a more of a scholarly person -: However, within I think within the current realm of higher education is more about -: It’s more about checking off a checkbox. -: Than it is actually becoming educated or educating or using that as a means of educating oneself to make oneself, better, more well-rounded person, it seems to be more about checking making you have a checklist, you meet you meet these this criteria. -: He may or may not learn -: The concepts or or -: They’re given and then it’s moved on to me it seems it feels almost like a factory And less of a place of higher learning

ii. P14: Throughout the “process” of community college I used my Montgomery GI bill. P14 described community college as a process.

iii. P12: I attended an orientation for veterans where it’s like in veteran center and mandatory. I was there to to check a box.

iv. P15: It is college military adviser’s job to Pretty much, get me to where I need to be to give me along the lines of success to to allow me to learn what I need to learn it is not their job to necessarily just put me in the class and in their school they’re looking out for the greater good. Not, not a check in a box, not a quota, they’re looking out how to make the best of this potential in the student who is a veteran, which, which can improve the world on a much larger scale.

v. P8 : Um, I joined the Marine Corps really because I did not really know what I wanted to do after high school. You know, I knew I did not want to go to college immediately

vi. P2: It really helped me um, you know, and then she was like, and if you have a problem. You going to come see me and, you know, and she just went down this list of-: And and she had it ready and then she would also check up on me. I’m like part of my job was or, you know, like in this program, I had to do so many chickens.-

d. Tutoring/academic support:

i. P2: So through the student achievement and success program. They also had the military veterans resource center. So I had a dedicated military counselor.-: And I also who was a veteran and so I to that someone that could help me with my it you know academic questions as well as if I was having a tough day with something or even questions about how do I contact someone at the VA about whatever.

ii. P2: Um, and so-: They could go, you could just go in there and relax. You could get help. We had tutors that were in there. It was because so much of a multi use-: Like area they let me give a presentation in there. I had this honors project and I had to present to a charity to try to get-: A program going there and they let me present in there. Um, because I wouldn’t have had nowhere anywhere else.-: Do. There was nowhere else on campus for students to do things like that. So, so they let me do that. And it had. It was all stopped with other everyone in there was military affiliated and so it was just a great way to be to be able to go in and-: sit for a minute and talk with people who understand things when your day is going tough and to celebrate when it’s going well.-

iii. P2: On the community college’s student achievement & success program support: Oh and SASP had this book lending library to that we had access to and you could get free textbooks checked out. You get up, you got to check them out for the basic subjects and then also those ridiculously expensive calculators ti whatever-: Like I’m no paying to like come give a performance with me, you know, not being the math genius. P2: I did that for a couple classes because I’m not going to major in it. And so I didn’t want to have to buy one of those calculators. And so the fact that they let me check that out through their loan program was good.

iv. P2: The colleges student achievement program really helped me um, you know, and then she was like, and if you have a problem. You going to come see me and, you know, and she just went down this list of-: And and she had it ready and then she would also check up on me. I’m like part of my job was or, you know, like in this program, I had to do so many chickens.-: So it wasn’t just her calling me, you know, or emailing me. I also had to come into the office on scheduled and just be like, Hey, I’m here. And someone you know would sit down or, you know, just talk to me for a minute and just be like, Hey, how are you doing-: Here about this. Did you hear about that we’re doing this they would offer. They had a-: Reading like a reading group.-: And-: That was basically like a book club and but you got together with other-: First first time students and they had pizza and they, you know, they were just THEY WEREN’T THERE TO BE YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM.-: And they knew the answers. And if they didn’t know the answer on how to fix something they found out like they weren’t, you know, they didn’t just make up something-: And tell me, hey yeah do it this way or that way and it didn’t work out there would be like, I don’t know. Give me a few days. I’m going to find out. And I’ll either email or call you and they always followed up on our word-: That I would have quit school without it.

v. P3: I know I’ve got reached back to the community college. I know I could go down there today. Good services and support if I wanted to, without any question I’d like that ability. I’m-: What-: All the services are offered there. There’s not one stone unturned that was wasn’t available those you know you got online.-: Communications email connectivity.-: You know, you got that hybrid education now impersonal the line type stuff.-: What services said all of them money.-: Is what you would even the name. The ones I remember-: Like I said connectivity internet connectivity access to communications access to media. There’s a lot of the library was tremendous.-: And throughout the college years areas where we could go be alone with computer access, they’re actually there are areas we could go congregate and brainstorm, you know,-: There’s places we can eat and you know have sessions and talk about projects for work.-: So the library was the plethora of resources alone. And specifically, you know, I can’t say it without, without going the access to the Veterans Center down there.-: And all the services that were additionally offered. I know we came that are-: Low level counseling, it would have been provided to us.P3: It’s just another important resource.

vi. P4: All they have everything-: And I think cuz it’s a community college and people know that they have everything that they’re pretty easy to-: Reach like-: Like I said, people don’t use the guinea college as much as they should, like they just go home, there’s there’s everything-: Is everything there you have a quite there’s there’s a professor who just sits around and wonders why he doesn’t get asked more questions. You know, there’s, there’s, like,-: With the veteran things you’re, you’re, you and your whole dental team or amazing-: For everything. Nobody ever just walked out of your office. It was always just-: You know, somebody attached to them and brought them to where they need to go like, especially for veterans.-: You guys made it so much easier.-: Just to everything they have accountants, they’re just sitting there doing nothing bored and they like accountants ship, for whatever reason, and they’ll help you. You just walk in there and be like, hey, I don’t understand, taxes are like, me neither. But I can do this for you.-: Is there’s everything is little bit. It’s just whether or not you’re willing to just ask the question.-: I use a veteran services a lot. I use the-: American Disability Services a lot-

vii. P4 – On the community college – Oh yeah, I’ve used it for everything with the with the veterans, especially because it’s complicated dealing with a VA and they do the veal time and so you put the people at the school.-: I see the same people at the community college. I’ve seen for five years. You don’t see that shared the VA.-: So like those people can help you. They’re very helpful. They go in there and they’re just like, Oh, yeah, yeah. You just need to fill out this SMS and then there’s so much more responsive than the VA and they’re so helpful with people who are trying to continue their education, just anything-: I go there before I go to the VA, especially now switch the GI Bill just go talk to the-: Counselors the career counselors whatever they’re called spoke out-: To help you when you’re picking classes and The advisors.-: are amazing and they have been there forever. They understand the VA, bro. Like, like, what do you say, so if you want to switch you gotta do this.-: You guys if if you want to stay on your, your track you got to keep doing this, this, this, and they’re like, well, what do you want to do, like, okay, here, here you do this, this, this.-: Like they’re, they’re very helpful. It’s just like I say, it’s a much smaller Institute.-: You know, it’s not a-: You know, sometimes for your college to seem like this giant establishment. We’re going to community college, you can go up just bang on someone’s door.P4: And just ask a question, and they’ll, they’ll give you an answer or there’ll be like, why didn’t you go talk to this person like because I didn’t know they existed.

viii. P6: Uh, no, I didn’t, I didn’t use any of the tutors. Um, I was needed help. And what was that: An intuition. I wasn’t doing too well in nutrition. I ended up dropping it. But before I dropped it. I had a talk with a professor and she offered some ideas on how I could get better or, you know, get better grades or get a better grade for nutrition, but I didn’t take advantage of. I just ended up dropping the class

ix. P6: So like I went to the college’s veteran center you had all types of-: Benefits of being I guess in the military and having that vet center there.-: Some way, you can study it was quiet.-: Wasn’t in a-: Controlled um-: You had all the information in there that you could get that probably could help not only the people that was in there, giving you information. But, uh, just, uh,-: What’s the, what’s the word or language. The pamphlets and stuff. He-: That type of information, plus the real people that was there.-: The program that we’re behind the real people like-: If you needed help with-: Maybe a map. I’m thinking of Pedro, but he was a-: He was a veteran and math tutor embedded in the center paid by the college. But yes.-: Well, you had other programs behind the people to even help you, even more so.-: Yes, the pamphlets, the written knowledge that was there, plus the real people. That was good. I could give you knowledge and then the programs behind the real people.-: I just asking questions as many questions as I can.P6: Always trying to get an understanding,

x. P7: I received every service that you know you could possibly want or ask for at the community college. I mean, everything that I felt that I felt I needed. I found there, you know, it wasn’t there was no nothing that I didn’t see that it was missing.-: Like I said, there was some. There was a group for me to go be a part of. There were somewhere that I could go be with that group and the military center of the vet center, you know,-: There were leaders or people above you, that gave guidance and instruction, you know, kind of point you in the right direction when you did get off track.-: Oh, I mean, I use them all the time. That’s kind of what helped me get through the being so productive in Community College as far as getting the internships and you know beingP7: honor student, you know those structures in place, you know, they gave you the guidance you needed to get to get to where you want it to be, you know

xi. P8: I just use you to utilize them, you know, by, by, you know, talking to you or talk to my my bit of resource officer.- : About, you know, getting different information, you know, asking questions that I need to get answers to, you know, being that liaison between me and the school that type of thing. Because sure that I understand, you know,- : Different you know the some of the information that I wasn’t aware of- : You know, there’s a better resource and you could go, you go on there and type your papers, you know, you can see call from other veterans, you know, seek to religion, things like that from other people from that, from that.- : As well.So, you know,- : And I just utilize it. And those capacities, you know, seeking guidance and getting information from you, you know, going to the the Veterans Resource office when I need to sometimes

xii. P9: They use the library reference checks my papers and my citations. I can do that online. And I also went into do it. They had a place to eat. So I use the dining room. They also were Veterans Resource Center. I did use that and I talked to the veterans advisor about my benefits classes to take that kind of thing. They also had a place and lounge dresses set and have some snacks and meet other veterans

xiii. P12: He there was: The math lab was a great service. I went to the math lab regularly Tuesdays and Thursdays. I did specifically for Professor Spurlock she just had a way of breaking down math to make it simple. The-: English lab for revisions. I worked as another lady, I can’t remember, but man, she really helped. She really pulled ideas out of me. Like, she just kind of-: You know, gave me a little bit and I was able to just take off with my ideas and how I want us to Word and structure things and just really was allowing me to earn a papers on my own. Um,-: Those are really the main. Those are the main with the dead center, of course.P12: Snacks the quiet place to study fellowship. People who understood it, just the the to be in there and be able to talk through things as a adult that’s in school that’s that’s surrounded by 20 year olds that kind of manage that. Um, yeah. So the best center math lab and English class.

xiv. P13. Because I was-: Out of my family when the first to go to college.-: I utilized-: Some of the some of the special aspects of the student-: Success Program would like I’m borrowing some of the textbook. So as I won’t save me money like that.-: Um, the veterans group was part of the sachets so if I hadn’t joined the veterans group, I wouldn’t have known about the FAFSA, but I would have still qualified for it without being a veteran because of the fact that I was in fact one of the first people in my family to go to college.-: I did not have anybody in my family prior to me who had successfully, successfully graduate from college.-: to mine the best of my knowledge, I am the first person to graduate with a degree on my-: My side of the family. -: It was supposed to help the-: Company say underachievers but that’s not the word I actually looking-: For it was supposed to help. The-: Underserved-: To-: To be able to complete their college trajectory successfully achieve their degree.-: Um, I do not. I do not know.-: Every group that they helped, but I know that veterans and first generation collegiateP13: attendees were part of the groups that they were designed to assist.

xv. P2: I did have a benefit of we had a Veterans Resource Center, at the community college which was attached to the program that really saved my bacon during college like I would not have made it through college without the program called student achievement and success program and the Veterans Resource Center without those two I would die probably would have dropped out two weeks into college. So while they weren’t Any monetary benefits directly from the military, the college veteran benefits were a lifeline to me succeeding and they were a huge part of my success.

2. Success – Success was described based on each participants perception of success. Described of community college success were self-defined. All participants who received Chapter 33 or Chapter 30 entitles cited the housing allowance as the an incentive to attend community college.

a. Goals

i. Self-defined goals of community college

ii. Long-term goals

iii. P1: Baccalaureate degree in fine arts

iv. P2: I wanted to have a career where I made an impact helping people through work with my church.

v. P3: My concern is after care for our veterans. What are we going to do with them after they finish their coursework and then they got all these great ideas all these new skills, but remember they all have mental health issues too.

vi. Right now, I don’t know, there’s no real goal. I don’t know

vii. And then long term, I would love to be a social worker. As a veteran. I just feel like it’s my niche to work with veterans and you know, their families and kind of the crisis that they endure, but I’m also willing to really work in every in every avenue whether it’s with kids or geriatrics. I come on pretty much open to everything because I know life happens and you kind of Go with the flow of where you’re at. But essentially, I would love to open up my own private practice. I’ve been blessed enough to have work with people and know people who have their own practice and they have their master’s in social work. And so I’m just speaking with them alone, I feel confident that that is something that I can do in the future. And then eventually, I would like to have my doctorate in social work. Those are my goals.

viii. P6:now it’s to get my: Taking these: What are they call my professional certificates getting my certs, though.

ix. P7: Ultimate education goal. The get a bachelor’s degree, ultimately, you know, my, my end goal will be to become a judge, you know, hopefully one day that that’s still possible, it is I’m looking at going for my masters, political science, so the end goal for me would be to gain a doctorate.

x. P8: long term goal is to: Once I take I’m about to get some certifications here soon. So once I finish wrapping that up. I’m going to try to move departments in at my employer.

xi. P9: I wanted to have something to do. And I thought that taking more classes will help keep my brain sharp and give me an opportunity to get out of the house and meet some more people.

xii. P9: and also for the Chapter 33 and for the housing allowance. And then my long term goal is to eventually get my doctorate. Which is not is not that far away. I rather be like a manager in a manager general position, instead of a it working position where you constantly. Use your hands, your body to work because I’ve done that. Countless times over and over again in the military. That what was my thinking.

xiii. P11: Well I enrolled last year to take a course the entrepreneurship in Maryland Medical cannabis, it’s a whole new field. And I know that I’ll be retiring from the College and not too distant future. But I also know that I’m not going to sit at home and do nothing. I’ve already proved that to myself. So I was wondering what else is out there that would be of interest to me that I would want to get involved in

xiv. P12: My dream school was you, UMD and so I knew that, you know, being Mid-Atlantic Community College would help me get there because I would transfer, I would learn while there that they actually had an articulation agreement with the University of Maryland (articulation agreement and GI Bill require students be enrolled in an approved major).

xv. P13: I knew that I wanted my four year degree.: I knew that I wanted to have a four year degree so that I could feel like. Like I had a shot at getting a real job.: Like that, like I had opportunities that I didn’t have open to me when I started this whole process.: Like the opportunities that I thought Air Force had promised me: would finally be available to me.: And I like it. It felt like: To be honest, it felt like it felt like I was finally getting my shot at what everything I had been promised my sign on the dotted line. I felt like I was finally getting a chance to recoup all those things that I thought I was going to get a shot at my signed up for the Air Force. and potentially getting my master’s degree

xvi. I want to continue on with my education. -: I feel that with the education that I’m going to receive from Xavier that I’ll be well suited for consulting -: Both on industrial farms, but also -: Certain government agencies, you know, I’m not necessarily restricting who I be able to consult with but sustainability is is a huge factor in what I want to do, but I want to, I want to be able to -: Help with the agriculture, the growth of of the plants and crops and, you know, -: I still, even though I’m I’m specifically going for a sustainable agriculture degree. I want a ultimately botany is my is my goal, my focus my -: My aspirations. -: Because body breaks down into three major like fingers of it ones agronomy the -: The study of crop development crap and and kind of large scale. -: Growing horticulture, you know the the science of the genetics of plants and forestry. -: You know, that’s kind of self explanatory itself science of a forest trees and and you know -: My ultimate goal is to kind of try to -: DO EVERYTHING I CAN in my power to help the earth sustain make it a -: Good place in a Sustainable -: Place for for generations to come to be able to maintain an Inhabitable planet.

xvii. P15: Then I discovered product design in while in the Navy. By speaking with the Program Manager of Veteran Services at MACC, I decided to transfer schools from Maryland to California.

xviii. Short term goals-Short Term Goals

1. P1: My initial goal.: Was to Receive my associates in fine arts and a local community college and also to complete the general education courses for a baccalaureate degree in fine arts.

2. P2: My goal is, I want to help people

3. P3: We were testing the federal government; we were testing that they will allow us to use the GI Bill for a an entrepreneurship course in medical cannabis at the MACC. P3: I wasn’t just taking the course to enjoy it, which I did. P3: I wanted to learn more to support my non-profit and for-profits business in that are both located in the cannabis space.

4. P4: My goal was to find something that would make still being alive worth it.

5. P5 Okay, so my goal is to finish up my Associate’s Degree in the springtime 2021. .P5 9:13 Hopefully from there, I will be able to transfer to Bowie State the following fall. And I would like to enter their social work program because they do have a really good social work program. And it’s an HBCU, which is something that I’ve always wanted to attend.

6. P6: Definitely getting a degree finishing: And also I had planned on getting a job but us taking these orders to Guantanamo Bay stopped that.

7. P7: Short term goal is to gain of credits to be able to transfer I have enough, high enough GPA to get into a respectable or decent college long term goal would be to, you know, have the grades that are that could get me to where I needed to be

8. P8 : The short term goal would be to just graduate from the 4 year university.

9. P9: I don’t: Really have any I’m just taking classes.: At one point I was going to be. I wanted to do something like be a military advocate: They have like a counseling major, but I’ve decided not to do that right now. I might be looking for too much extra stress.

10. P10: short term goal is to Just accomplish my associates degree which I’m one class away.

11. P10: It was either go to work or go to school, I rather go to school to for myself in and work with work with my mind, instead of my hands so: So that’s that was my thinking

12. P11: I have done the coaching the life coaching program that the college offers. Now that was professional development, but there’s a lot of people who take it not as professional development because it can be another career field.: And I enjoyed it. But for me, I haven’t run my own business really before. So that is an area that I’m just uncomfortable and sure about. I don’t feel like I have enough information. So I did take a: Course under one of the business professors non credit on on building your coaching business.

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