EKU Again Named Military-Friendly School by G.I. Jobs Magazine

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As its numbers of student veterans continue to soar thanks to Operation Veteran Success, Eastern Kentucky University again has been named a Military-Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine.

For the third consecutive year, EKU ranks in the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide that are doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students, according to the magazine. Earlier this year, Eastern was honored by Military Times EDGE magazine as “Best for Vets,” the number-one college or university in the country for its initiatives to help military veterans further their education.

This fall, 910 military veterans are enrolled at EKU, up from 658 last fall. More than 100 veterans graduated this past academic year, and 305 veterans enrolled at Eastern for the first time this fall. Approximately 50 percent of the veterans at EKU have transferred from another institution.

EKU is home to Operation Veteran Success, a series of initiatives designed to make the campus even more veteran-helpful. 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

Lt. Col. Brett Morris, Ret., associate director of veterans affairs in the University’s Student Outreach and Transition Office, 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).

“They are finding out that we mean what we say about being veteran-helpful,” said Morris, former chair of the University’s Department of Military Science and Leadership. “I anticipate we will reach a thousand veterans in the Spring.”

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. “If veterans are in the classroom,” Morris explained, “they will add to the quality of instruction.”

In a survey conducted for G.I. Jobs magazine, EKU’s student veterans gave the University an approximately 3.8 ranking on a 4.0 scale when assessing veteran resources, school resources, faculty, school environment and career services.

In another survey, one student veteran responded that he had attended five other schools, “and EKU has been by far the best toward prior service members’ success. I cannot put into words how well EKU treats veterans.”

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

Schools on the G.I. Jobs 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 and graduating students with military experience.

In its effort to help student veterans find the right school, for the first time this year G.I. Jobs incorporated a survey of student veterans.

Michael Dakduk, executive director for the Student Veterans of America, said: “The Military Friendly Schools list is the go-to resource for prospective student veterans searching for schools that provide the right overall experience.  Nothing is more compelling than actual feedback from current student veterans.”

Service members and veterans can also meet individual student veterans from the various schools virtually on the site to learn more about personal school decisions and the transition from the military to an academic environment.

The 2012 list of Military Friendly Schools ® was compiled through extensive research and a data driven survey of more than 8,000 schools nationwide. Methodology, criteria and weighting for the list were developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Board (AAB) consisting of educators from schools across the country. 

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 early October. The newly redesigned website, found at www.militaryfriendlyschools.com, features the list, interactive tools and search functionality to assist military veterans with their school decisions.  The site will be updated with the 2012 list on Monday, Sept. 12.

G.I. Jobs (www.gijobs.com) is published by Victory Media, a veteran-owned business that 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 September 12, 2011

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