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WMU named among top 'military friendly' colleges

Aug. 17, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University has been singled out as one of the top military-friendly schools in the nation on a list released today by G.I. Jobs magazine, a national publication serving veterans and those about to leave active duty.

The list honors the top 15 percent of post-secondary schools nationwide that "are doing the most to embrace America's veterans as students." Schools on the list range from state universities and private colleges to community colleges and trade schools. The common bond, according to G.I. Jobs, is the honored schools' shared priority of recruiting students with military experience.

WMU is the school of choice for the largest number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of any of Michigan's four-year colleges and universities. For more than two years, the University has had an advocacy office specifically empowered to work on behalf of veterans and to help them transition from their active duty roles to the life of a student. Since early 2007, WMU has offered its own "mini GI bill" designed to help recently released veterans launch their college careers without waiting for their veterans' benefits to kick in.

"We've worked very hard to meet the needs of our service men and women who are ready to conclude their military careers and move into the next phase of their lives," says WMU President John M. Dunn.

"Our students are responding to the support system we've set up with appreciation, and they're performing well. We'll continue to help them as we identify new challenges they face. This new list is another acknowledgement that we're on the right track with this special group of individuals."

The list of schools that reach out to veterans is especially timely now because the recently enacted Post-9/11 GI Bill has given veterans virtually unlimited financial means to go to school, says 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," McCormack says. "Veterans need a trusted friend to help them decide where to get educated. The Military Friendly Schools list is that trusted friend."

Schools on the Military Friendly Schools list offer such benefits as on-campus veterans programs, credit for service, military spouse programs and more. The list was compiled through research starting last May during which G.I. Jobs polled more than 7,000 schools nationwide. Methodology, criteria and weighting for the list were developed with the assistance of an academic advisory committee consisting of educators and administrators from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Toledo, Duquesne University, Coastline Community College and Lincoln Technical Institute. Criteria for making the Military Friendly Schools list included efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students, results in recruiting military and veteran students, and academic accreditations.

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 that will be distributed to hundreds of thousands of active and former military personnel in September. A new Web site, militaryfriendlyschools.com, will launch in September with interactive tools and search functionality to assist military veterans in choosing schools that meet their educational needs.

The entire 2010 Military-Friendly School List can be found at militaryfriendlyschools.com/mfspr. Visit to wmich.edu/advocacy for information about WMU's services for military veterans.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
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