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Federal Educational Assistance Programs Available to Service Members

Federal Educational Assistance Programs Available to Service Members: Program Features and Recommendations for Improved Delivery

Peter Buryk
Thomas E. Trail
Gabriella C. Gonzalez
Laura L. Miller
Esther M. Friedman
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 86
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  • Book Info
    Federal Educational Assistance Programs Available to Service Members
    Book Description:

    A variety of programs provide educational assistance to military service members, ranging from examinations that provide college credit for knowledge and experience gained in the military to various kinds of tuition assistance and student aid. RAND reviewed major federal-level educational assistance programs to provide an overall view of the system and suggest ways to assess it and help manage individuals’ use of the programs.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-9011-9
    Subjects: Business, Education, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction, Study Scope, and Methods
    (pp. 1-8)

    Beginning with the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, the federal government has provided educational assistance to those who serve honorably in the armed forces. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been the primary administrator of these benefits to military personnel and postservice veterans through various GI Bills (e.g., World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Montgomery, Post-9/11). The Department of Defense (DoD) offers its own portfolio of education benefits to active-duty and reserve service members.

    Since the advent of the All-Volunteer Force in 1973, military recruits have repeatedly cited access to generous education benefits as a primary motivation for joining the...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Previous Research on Civilian and Military Educational Assistance
    (pp. 9-18)

    Employer educational assistance programs are highly prevalent, with companies spending about $22 billion annually on employee education through such programs (Miller, 2012). These programs serve as a rich source of information on the prevalence, types of benefits provided, program details, and employee outcomes for a major source of funding civilian education for adults in the labor force. These insights help inform the logic model, program evaluation design, and benchmarks for determining military educational program success.

    Employer educational assistance programs came into existence in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, fueled in part by the success of the GI...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Description of Programs’ Design Features
    (pp. 19-34)

    This chapter first presents a description and application of the overarching framework used to analyze the in-scope benefit programs. More-detailed descriptions of each program follow, along with a close-up model for each. This process helps identify common inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes among programs and provide a better understanding of how each operates in isolation.

    Logic models— also referred to astheories of actionortheories of impact(Rossi, Lipsey, and Freeman, 2004)—are used to identify the rationale behind a program and provide some boundaries on what is considered part of its structure (Riemer and Bickman, 2011; Wholey, Hatry,...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Program Eligibility and Usage
    (pp. 35-42)

    This chapter builds on the educational assistance literature and individual program review in Chapters Two and Three, respectively, and extends the analysis to developing conceptual frameworks for both the eligibility and use relationships among the various programs. First, we address how program oversight and eligibility requirements change over the course of an individual service member’s lifetime and then consider several potential paths for pursuing higher education goals. Finally, we discuss inefficient use of benefits and the possible consequences of such decisions.

    As part of our data collection and literature review processes, we identified individual program eligibility requirements and incorporated them...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Considerations for an Evaluation of Federal Education Assistance Programs for Service Members
    (pp. 43-54)

    A program evaluation can help determine the extent to which the program is meeting its goals or improving participants’ outcomes (Lapan, 2001; Stufflebeam and Shinkfield, 2007; McDavid and Hawthorn, 2006; Stake, 2011; Carman, 2007; Khandker, Koolwal, and Samad, 2009; Spaulding, 2008; Slavin, 2008). An evaluation is a systematic way of assembling data into a picture of (1) who is being served and how well an organization is delivering its services (a process evaluation) and (2) the impact of those services on the target population—whether goals are being met or intended outcomes are being reached (anoutcome evaluation). But before...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Summary of Findings and Recommendations
    (pp. 55-60)

    For our analysis of military educational assistance programs, we examined literature and industry publications related to similar civilian educational assistance programs. We concluded that these programs are highly prevalent among U.S. employers because of the belief that they improve employee job satisfaction and performance. Few companies, however, actually investigate or attempt to measure the effectiveness of their programs. While the literature on civilian educational assistance programs provides some insights into the short-run consequences of these programs, knowledge of the direct effects of the programs on outcomes of interest remains fairly limited. In addition, some outcomes are difficult to measure or...

  14. References
    (pp. 61-68)