Military Times Ranks EKU No. 2 Nationally for Its Support of Military Veterans

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Eastern Kentucky University has earned a No. 2 ranking among the nation’s four-year colleges and universities for its commitment to helping military veterans further their education.

Military Times EDGE magazine ranks EKU second only to Concord University of West Virginia in its annual “Best for Vets: Colleges” issue. Last year, Eastern ranked first among the nation’s colleges and universities. This year, the rankings were categorized by four-year colleges and universities, online and non-traditional, and two-year colleges.

The magazine ranks institutions based on their programs, services and policies that support veterans as well as accreditations as well as graduation and loan default rates. The complete story and rankings can be viewed at http://militarytimesedge.com/education/veteran-campus-life/edge_bfvcolleges_main_110711/.

“Being ranked as one of the top programs in the country for two years running confirms that what we are doing here at EKU is making a difference in the lives of our student veterans,” said Lt. Col. Brett Morris, Ret., associate director of veterans affairs in the University’s Student Outreach and Transition Office and interim director of admissions. “We owe this generation of veterans the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and aspirations, and helping them achieve their educational goals is job one.

“We are living up to our promise to not just be an institution that is ‘veteran friendly’ but primarily one that is ‘veteran helpful,’” Morris added.

In 2010, EKU unveiled Operation Veteran Success, a series of initiatives designed to make Eastern an even more veteran-helpful campus. Those initiatives include:

·         No admission fees for undergraduate veterans.

·         In-state tuition for all out-of-state veterans nationwide.

·         Maximum credit hours for military experience.

·         Priority registration

·         Book vouchers and Books for Boots Exchange Library

·         Veterans Bridge to College Success cohort classes

·         Veterans orientation course. (Earlier this year, this course led to the publication by EKU of “The Journal of Military Experience,” a compilation of stories, poetry and artwork by EKU student veterans.)

·         Veteran-helpful withdrawal and readmission policy

·         Vet-2-Vet sponsorship program and active Vets Club

·         Recreational and other extracurricular activities

·         Specially designated housing for student veterans

Morris attributes the growth to the increasing return of soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan, the positive national attention EKU has received for its veteran-friendly initiatives, and academic programs well-suited to many veterans (such as those in the College of Justice & Safety and aviation, among others).

Beginning with the Spring 2012 semester, EKU will offer what is believed to be the nation’s only Veteran Studies minor. The new academic program has a two-fold purpose: to help those who haven’t served in the military to better understand the issues that veterans face, and to help the veterans themselves deal with those issues.

Veterans are taking notice. Among its approximately 16,500-plus students, EKU now counts 910 military veterans, up from 658 last fall. More than 100 veterans graduated this past academic year, and more than 300 veterans enrolled at Eastern for the first time this fall. Approximately 50 percent of the veterans at EKU have transferred from another educational institution.

Eastern was recognized by G.I. Jobs magazine as a Military Friendly School in 2009, 2010 and again this year.

For more information about services available to veterans at EKU, contact the Veterans Affairs Office at 859-622-7838 or visit va.eku.edu.

Published on November 02, 2011