EKU Named Military-Friendly School for 2nd Straight Year

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For the second consecutive year, Eastern Kentucky University ranks in the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide that are doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students, according to G.I. Jobs magazine.

The magazine’s 2011 list of Military Friendly Schools (viewable at www.militaryfriendlyschools.com/2011list) was compiled through exhaustive research, as G.I. Jobs polled more than 7,000 schools nationwide. Criteria for making the list include efforts and level of success in recruiting and retaining military and veteran students, and academic accreditations.

The honor comes as EKU is welcoming increasing numbers of veterans, drawn by the University’s Operation Veteran Success, a series of initiatives designed to make Eastern an even more veteran-helpful campus.

EKU has extended reduced tuition rates to all out-of-state veterans. For post 9-11 G.I. Bill recipients, both resident and non-resident, who have completed 36 months of active federal service, this means no out-of-pocket tuition costs. Also, the University has: waived the $30 admission application fee for all veterans, added recreational programming that appeals to their adventurous nature, developed a veterans-only orientation course, established a mentoring program pairing freshman veterans with returning student veterans, and instituted special cohort classes where veterans can learn together with fellow veterans.

Last year, EKU enrolled approximately 400 veterans. “Today that number stands at 540, and I predict we have just scratched the surface,” said EKU President Doug Whitlock.

Lt. Col. Brett Morris, Ret., former chair of the University’s Department of Military Science, returned to campus to serve as associate director of veterans affairs in the Student Outreach and Transition Office.

“As a place that values and honors military service, EKU wants to be the school of choice for veterans,” Morris said, adding that many veterans are attracted to the University’s widely recognized undergraduate programs in the College of Justice and Safety, which offers degrees in homeland security, criminal justice, fire science, and safety, security, and emergency management. Another popular program with EKU veterans is aviation.

For more information about services available to veterans at EKU, contact the Veterans Affairs Office at 859-622-2345 or visit www.soto.eku.edu/veterans/op-vet-success.php.

Schools on the Military Friendly list range from state universities and private colleges to community colleges and trade schools. The common bond is their shared priority of recruiting students with military experience.

“This list is especially important now because the Post-9/11 GI Bill has given veterans virtually unlimited financial means to go to school,” said Rich McCormack, G.I. Jobs publisher. “Veterans can now enroll in any school, provided they’re academically qualified. So schools are clamoring for them like never before. Veterans need a trusted friend to help them decide where to get educated. The Military Friendly Schools list is that trusted friend.”

Derek Blumke, president of Student Veterans of America and a member of the list’s Academic Advisory Board, agrees.

“The Military Friendly Schools list is the gold standard in letting veterans know which schools will offer them the greatest opportunity, flexibility and overall experience. It’s especially important now with so many schools competing for military students.”

A full story and detailed list of Military Friendly Schools will be highlighted in the annual Guide to Military Friendly Schools and on a poster, both of which will be distributed to hundreds of thousands of active and former military personnel in late September. The newly redesigned website, found at www.militaryfriendlyschools.com, features interactive tools and search functionality to assist military veterans in choosing schools that best meet their personal educational needs.

A test of the tools reveals that “the more selective you make the criteria, the better EKU fares,” Morris noted. (The site currently shows 2010 Military Friendly Schools but will switch to the 2011 list in late September.)

G.I. Jobs (www.gijobs.com) is published by Victory Media, a veteran-owned business headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa. The company also publishes The Guide to Military Friendly Schools, Military Spouse and Vetrepreneur magazines and annually rates the nation’s Military Friendly Employers, Military Spouse Friendly Employers and Best Corporations for Veteran-Owned Businesses.

Published on August 18, 2010