What Makes a College Military Friendly?

A recent list of military friendly colleges published under the 2013 GI Jobs list and created by Victory Media, is more interesting based on the colleges it did not include rather than those it did. The website, which is not affiliated with the United States Government, uses student reviews as well as a weighted scoring system to create the list each year. All results are then audited by Ernst & Young, a renowned accounting firm before being published. This year’s list includes 1,700 schools.

Veteran’s Affairs Approved Schools not Included

The small list provided by GI Jobs did not include approximately 10,000 schools that accept GI Bill funding and that are authorized by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. This indicates that a college that is VA approved may not necessarily be a college friendly to the military, based on the experience of military students and other factors. Because military students have unique needs that other students do not, many students seek colleges that are military friendly, and lists like those found on GI Jobs help them find those schools.

Catch Phrase

With the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which expands the funds available for those in the military to attend school, “military friendly” has become a catch phrase at many colleges and universities, many in order to capture the approximately $9 billion per year in tuition provided by the approximate 600,000 veterans who plan to return to school. Many veterans organizations claim that the reason the majority of men and women join the military in the first place is because of the education benefits available to them.

Criteria for List

Victory Media uses nine different criteria to determine if a school is truly friendly to the military. They not only look at academic credibility and the portion of military students enrolled at the university, but also whether the college provides support for military students on campus, such as military support centers or veterans organizations located on campus. Using surveys sent to approximately 12,000 VA approved colleges who agree to participate, and about half of them met the first levels of the criteria. From those, the company used their own assessments to reduce the list to around 15 percent of the initial group. Victory Media says that the 15 percent threshold allows those using the list to have freedom of choice, but that the colleges that do make the list are an elite group.

Victory Media says that military personnel who choose a college from their list will know that they will be obtaining an education at a college or university that understands the needs of the military, in addition to one that accepts VA benefits. The colleges that appear on the list are an elite, exclusive group that keep military students in mind.

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