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WMU named one of nation's 'best for vets' colleges

Sept. 29, 2010

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University has been named among the nation's top-20 schools for military veterans by a national publication that serves all branches of the armed forces.

Military Times' Best for Vets badge.Military Times' EDGE magazine ranked WMU at No. 16 on its list of 101 colleges around the United States that are "best for vets" and "make veterans' success a priority."

This is the first such ranking by the monthly publication, which is a supplement to the widely distributed Military Times publications--Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times.

Named No. 1 on the list was Eastern Kentucky University. Other schools that made the top 20 include Arkansas State, Embry Riddle, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Southern Illinois-Carbondale universities as well as the universities of Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming.

"Our veterans deserve every bit of assistance we can provide as they make that all-important transition from deployment to student life," says WMU President John M. Dunn. "This entire campus has worked very hard to make sure our vets know that their success is our top priority. It's gratifying to see that work recognized, but actually seeing veterans succeed and earn their degrees is the real reward, and our doors are always open to even more veterans."

The magazine invited more than 4,000 of the nation's college and universities to report on their programs, policies and resources for veterans. The rankings were based on four broad categories--financial assistance, academic flexibility, campus culture and support services for veterans. Criteria included such items as presence of veterans groups on campus and staff dedicated to veterans' issues, scholarships and relaxed residency for veterans, policies for handling military withdrawals and the existence of special programs and events for veterans.

Only one other Michigan college was included on the overall list. The University of Michigan-Flint was ranked No. 99.

WMU has made veterans a priority over the past four years with a number of efforts to reach out to both veterans returning from deployment and National Guard members who might be called to serve at any time. The University has the largest population of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans among all of Michigan's 15 public universities.

Special programs and services for veterans include:

  • A mini GI bill in place since 2007 to cover tuition for an initial semester of enrollment, making it easy for a vet to transition quickly from active service to student life.
  • A residency policy that recognizes veterans and their families as Michigan residents.
  • An active campus veterans association.
  • A special advocacy office aimed at helping veterans and active duty national guard members transition in and out of academic life.
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Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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