HD20 - The Effects of Military Reductions on Higher Education in Virginia

Executive Summary:
House Joint Resolution No. 172, sponsored by the Honorable Julia Connally, directed the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to study the effects on education of defense reductions in Virginia. Specifically, the resolution asked the Council to look at the potential for former military personnel to teach in the public schools or colleges and universities in the Commonwealth and at the effects of military downsizing on higher-education enrollments.

The chief findings of the study are as follows:

• After an initial decrease of 6.4 percent in military personnel between 1989 and 1994, the Commonwealth should see its numbers of servicemembers swell by 4,300 once base closures and realignments elsewhere are completed.

• Those active-duty personnel who resign from the services -- estimated to be 12,000 to 14,000 annually -- will nevertheless form a significant pool of talent for the Commonwealth.

• Teachers shortages in Virginia are confined to several areas. They are most serious in special education but also exist to some small degree in chemistry, physics, earth and space sciences, foreign languages, and technology education.

• Programs to help former military personnel become teachers, which exist in Virginia and several other states, should focus on those shortage areas. Programs could also be created to help fanner military personnel move into a broader range of second careers.

• Restructuring, the hiring freeze, and the glutted academic job market have combined to create a very difficult job market in Virginia's public colleges and universities. Consequently, collegiate teaching does not represent a significant employment opportunity for retired military personnel.

• Former military personnel and new active-duty personnel will have their greatest effect on higher education as students. The numbers of military or former military personnel likely to enroll in Virginia's public colleges and universities have been taken into account in the institutions' enrollment projections.