Background/Context: The Post-9/11 GI Bill has provided educational benefits to millions of military service members and veterans since its adoption in August 2009. Recent studies indicate that the bill has significantly improved college enrollment and educational attainment among post-9/11 veterans. A significant proportion of veterans suffer from service-connected disabilities. While provisions of the Post-9/11 GI Bill may render education benefits that are appealing to veterans with service-connected disabilities, little is known with regard to how the bill has affected college participation among this venerable subpopulation of veterans.
Purpose/Objective: This study examines the effect of the Post-9/11 GI Bill on college enrollment rates among veterans with service-connected disabilities and unpacks potentially heterogeneous impacts across groups with different demographic characteristics (i.e., sex, age, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, and disability ratings).
Population: Post-9/11 veterans.
Research Design: Triple differences.
Data Collection and Analysis: Secondary data analysis based on American Community Survey 2005–2016.
Findings/Results: While the Post-9/11 GI Bill has increased college enrollment for veterans without service-connected disabilities by less than 1 percentage point, the increase is much larger—about 5 percentage points—for veterans with service-connected disabilities. Enrollment effects for veterans with service-connected disabilities are consistent and positive across sex, age, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, and disability ratings.
Conclusions/Recommendations: The results of this study provide strong evidence for the significant enrollment growth among veterans with service-connected disabilities after the adoption of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. While this result is reassuring, it is not clear whether this large effect for veterans with service-connected disabilities is due to favorable provisions in the Post-9/11 GI Bill or due to lower opportunity costs. In the future, researchers may want to identify appropriate sources for data on detailed educational benefits to examine the mechanisms behind the effect.