WMU saluted again in rankings of veteran-friendly institutions

by Mark Schwerin
| WMU News

Photo of WMU ROTC cadets.KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University has again been singled out as being among the best institutions in the nation for military veterans pursuing higher education.

In a pre-Veteran's Day announcement, Military Times placed WMU on its 2017 "Best for Vets" list of colleges and universities, coming in at 108 on its list of the top 130 institutions. WMU is the only Michigan school to have appeared on all eight years of the publication's annual list of top colleges in the United States considered "the best fit for service members, military veterans and their families." The only other public university in Michigan to make the 2017 list was Central Michigan University.

Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 is an editorially independent news project that evaluates the many factors that help make colleges and universities a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families. More than 500 colleges took part in this year's detailed survey.

Colleges and universities meticulously documented an array of services, special rules, accommodations and financial incentives offered to students with military ties and to describe many aspects of veteran culture on campus. Military times also factored in data from the Veterans Affairs and Defense Departments, as well as three Department of Education sources: the IPEDS Data Center, College Scorecard data and the Cohort Default Rate Database.

"We limit the list to encourage competition, and we genuinely hope this helps raise the bar for veterans on campus," says Amanda Miller, editor of Military Times' Best for Vets rankings and special editions.

The rankings are published in full in the issues of Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times on newsstands this month and online at militarytimes.com. The rankings also can be found on each magazine's website. The release of this year's list also marks Military Times' inaugural declaration of the month of November as Veterans Month.

Gold-level veteran services

This is the second accolade WMU has received this month for its services to vets. WMU and the WMU Thomas M. Cooley Law School received "gold-level status" from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency based on their commitment to providing on-campus, veteran-centric services to student veterans. The Veteran-Friendly School program, created by the MVAA, recognizes institutions of higher learning for their dedication to student veterans and dependents utilizing their GI Bill and other educational benefits. This is the program's second year.

WMU's Office of Military and Veterans affairs serves more than 700 military-affiliated students and has the largest number of veterans enrolled at a public university in Michigan. The office was established in 2009 to support veterans, service members and the family members of veterans. It provides guidance and mentorship in academics, benefits and other areas, as well as general information about WMU and its services, the campus community, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

WMU has earned accolades by offering in-state tuition status to veterans since 2007 and to veterans' dependents since 2008, assisting with obtaining GI Bill benefits, providing tailored academic and career counseling, offering disability services, and having a chapter of the Student Veterans of America.

In addition, the University has housed a VetSuccess on Campus program for southwest Michigan since 2012 with two partners—Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Kellogg Community College. This was the first VetSuccess program the V.A. authorized in Michigan and was refunded for a second three-year period. Working together, the three schools provide services to some 1,000 vets.

For more information on WMU's Office of Military and Veterans affairs, visit wmich.edu/military.

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