Unlocking SSM/V Success: Welcoming Student Service Members and Veterans and Supporting SSM/V Experiences

Thomas J. Hodges, Kennesaw State University
Kimberly D. Gomes, Kennesaw State University
Tyler L. Collette, Kennesaw State University
Brian A. Moore, Kennesaw State University


Helping student service members and veterans (SSM/Vs) earn a college degree is central to supporting them post-service. Yet, this generation of SSM/Vs faces challenges in higher education, including problems adapting, poor health, and administrative constraints, contributing to worsened academic outcomes and a sense of isolation on campus. This monograph synthesizes research on the challenges facing SSM/Vs. It also frames common aspects of successful programs aiding SSM/Vs as three areas for intervention: how administrators and faculty can create a welcoming campus for SSM/Vs; ways universities can create support systems for SSM/V social, health, and academic success; and engaging community partnerships to enable these efforts. Whether SSM/Vs overcome their challenges and unlock their strengths is contingent on opportunities provided within the school itself, and by its faculty, administrators, students, and community. Central to these efforts should be the goal of inclusivity enhancement, community building, and reduction of health-related dysfunction among SSM/Vs.