Term of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Daniel Calhoun

Committee Member 1

Meca Williams-Johnson

Committee Member 2

Erin Jordan


The purpose of this study was to explore the nontraditional student veteran experience in higher education. The research question guiding this study was: How do nontraditional student veterans describe their experiences with support serves in higher education as they progress toward degree completion? Knowles (1984) Adult Learning Theory and the concepts of social and academic integration proposed by Bean and Metzner (1985) were used to conceptualize participant experience. I employed a design of Narrative Inquiry with interviews to explore the narratives of nine nontraditional student veterans enrolled in higher education. Five themes emerged from the thematic data analysis: (a) Nontraditional student veterans engage in purposeful pursuits, (b) Nontraditional student veterans experience “Military Gap” in higher education, (c) Institutional policies hinder degree completion for nontraditional student veterans, (d) Nontraditional student veterans are less likely to engage with student support services when perceived as ineffective from prior experience, and (e) Utilize tenets of Adult Learning Theory and Environmental Press as a guide in supporting nontraditional student veterans. These themes illustrate concerns and areas of support services that can be improved to support degree completion for these students. Concluding recommendations address providing supportive policy, programming, and services for nontraditional student veteran assistance in degree completion.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material


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