Joining Forces: Education

Military families deserve the opportunity to earn a quality education.

Military children on average attend six to nine different school systems. These moves are hard enough without the administrative headaches of transferring records, securing spaces in courses, staying included in extracurricular activities, and completing required testing on time.

Additionally, more than 1 million service members are expected to come home in the next year, many of whom plan to pursue higher education. Veterans bring the same sense of determination and focus to their studies as they did to their service, but they often differ from their classmates in terms of age and life experience.

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a service project.Joining Forces' Education Priorities

  • Support K-12 military-connected children.
  • Support military children by helping schools become more responsive to the unique needs of military children and families and by easing transferability.
  • Support higher education for service members, veterans, and military families.
  • Promote, support, and expand the number of institutions of higher education that provide services for service members, veterans, and military families.
  • Highlight the value service members, veterans, and military family members provide to a classroom.
  • Provide transitioning service members with information about educational opportunities.

Joining Forces has already witnessed milestones in the area of education with states’ success with the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, and several independent efforts in support of Operation Educate the Educators.

Higher Education

8 Keys to Success

More and more institutions of higher education are stepping up to provide programs and services to support our veterans and military families in pursuit of higher education. More than 250 community colleges and universities have already signed onto the Administration’s “8 Keys to Success,” signaling their support for our returning heroes in their classrooms.

Developed by the Administration, the Departments of Education and Veterans Affairs, and more than 100 education experts, the 8 Keys to Success give schools concrete steps they can take to make sure veterans have the best possible educational experience:

  • Create a culture of trust and connectedness across the campus community to promote well-being and success for veterans.
  • Ensure consistent and sustained support from campus leadership.
  • Implement an early alert system to ensure all veterans receive academic, career, and financial advice before challenges become overwhelming.
  • Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all veterans, together with the creation of a designated space (even if limited in size).
  • Collaborate with local communities and organizations, including government agencies, to align and coordinate various services for veterans.
  • Utilize a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on veterans, including demographics, retention, and degree completion.
  • Provide comprehensive professional development for faculty and staff on issues and challenges unique to veterans.
  • Develop systems that ensure sustainability of effective practices for veterans.

Principles of Excellence

The 8 Keys to Success build on the Administration’s Principles of Excellence, which provide protections for our military and veterans to prevent against dishonest recruiting and predatory practices in institutions of higher learning.

VetSuccess on Campus and Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership

To further veterans’ success in higher education, the VA is also expanding its VetSuccess on Campus and Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership programs, which connect veterans to VA resources.

The Report: Strengthening Our Military Families: Meeting America’s Commitment

President Obama issued a government-wide review to bring together the resources of the Federal Government, identify new opportunities across the public and private sectors, and lay the foundation for a coordinated approach to supporting and engaging military families for years to come.

Download the Report