Student Veterans of America Survey Offers Interesting Results
In March 2020, our partner organization, Student Veterans of America (SVA), conducted a comprehensive survey to determine the impact of COVID-19 on student veterans and the veteran community as a whole.
The web survey, conducted between March 16th and March 19th, 2020, received a total of 567 responses. SVA reports a margin of error of +/-4.12%, and notes that there is a geographic bias in the results, as the state of Tennessee is overrepresented. Here are the survey results.
Unsurprisingly, nearly 100% of those polled indicated that they had seen, read, or heard news coverage about the coronavirus.
Almost 90% of those stating that they have consumed a lot of news coverage.
The top three venues for receiving news, according to respondents, came from their local news outlets, internet research, and social media.
Over 70% believe that the worst of the virus outbreak is yet to come.
Most of those surveyed (37.8%) stated that they were a little worried that they or someone in their family might catch the coronavirus, while nearly a quarter of the survey poll indicated that they were not too worried.
Interestingly, over 70% believe that the worst of the virus outbreak is yet to come and that it will have a major to extreme impact on their day to day lives.
Over 40% of survey participants claimed that they were not currently employed or earning a paycheck.
Of those who are still working, only 10% are working more than one job, while over 88% hold only one job and average about 25 hours of work per week. Most respondents stated that their jobs had not been eliminated or laid off at the time of the survey.
Over three quarters of those polled either do not expect their workplace to close, or if it does, they already plan to work from home. At least 44 people indicated that their workplace had already closed and they were no longer earning a paycheck. Over 40% confessed that they do not know how long to expect the closures to continue.
Nearly 3/4 of respondents indicated that their schools had shifted to online classes.
Over 30% have claimed that the move to online classes has negatively impacted their ability to apply or interview for jobs.
A stunning figure of only 14% believe the VA will respond beneficially to the needs of student veterans during this Covid-19 crisis.
Most respondents were enrolled in college courses at the time of the survey, and 73.6% confirmed that their schools had not closed but had shifted to online classes.
There have been changes to some VA education benefits, especially concerning congressional legislation, and less than half of those polled indicated that they have not received any updates.
Of those who have received updates, most said they were informed directly by the VA or their school certifying official.
While over 30% have claimed that the move to online classes has negatively impacted their ability to apply or interview for jobs, 64% indicated that there has been no change to their ability to interview for jobs.
Over half of these students indicated some level of concern about COVID-19 impacting their academic goals. Most students believe that either their school, Student Veterans of America, or other Veteran Service Organizations will effectively respond to the needs of student veterans during this outbreak.
A stunning response indicated that only 14% believe the VA will respond beneficially during the same time.
Only 76% affirmed that they have any form of health insurance.
Most of those polled indicate that they normally see their primary care physician when they or someone in their household gets sick. Over a third get their primary care from a VA facility.
Only 76% affirmed that they have any form of health insurance, with over half claiming their veteran health benefits make up most of their insurance package.
Most of these student veterans have a VA disability rating.
General Demographic Insights
The age ranges for respondents varied greatly with the majority falling between 25-39 years of age. At least 7 respondents indicated an age between 70-74. One third of the population sample stated their gender as female, while nearly two-thirds were male.
As stated above, Tennessee was over represented with 26.1% of those polled claiming that state as their state of legal residence. This doesn’t necessarily mean they were in Tennessee at the time of the survey.
For comparison, the state with the second largest number of claims was California, coming in at 7.8%. States receiving no responses were Delaware, Utah, and West Virginia.
More than 80% of those polled indicated that they identified as veterans, while only 2.3% are serving on active duty.
The respondents by branch were:
Army – over 44%
Navy – 23%
Air Force – 16%
Marine Corps – 14%
Coast Guard – 2%
This SVA survey offered some valuable insights into the concerns and outlook of those student veterans who responded. A lot has happened since the middle of March, and it would be interesting to see the results if the same survey were given again.
Robert Haynes is a retired Army infantryman who has a squad of kids and is married to an active duty Soldier. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who spent his last few years in the Army as a Drill Sergeant. He is now a full-time dad, freelance writer, and out-of-work comedian.