UPDATED: Monday, November 25, 2013 - 11:32pm
COLLEGE STATION, Tx (KYLE) — Texas A&M ranks as one of the top five best universities in the nation for veterans, according to U.S. News & World Report’s inaugural “Best Colleges of Veterans” poll.
Underscoring its “military-friendly” tradition, Texas A&M currently enrolls more than 700 veterans, university officials note, and they are provided a high level of support in their academic pursuits and adjustment to campus life.
All of the “Best Colleges for Veterans” scored well in terms of graduation rate, faculty resources, reputation and other markers of academic quality in the 2014 edition of the U.S. News Best Colleges, pointed out Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer for U.S. News. To qualify for the new rankings, the schools had to be certified for the GI Bill and participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program and Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium.
“While all prospective students seek a good education from a reputable institution, our military veterans can take advantage of expanded educational benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill,” Kelly said. “We developed these rankings to help them find a top-quality institution that also offers federal benefits that ease the burden of applying, paying for and completing a college degree.”
Other institutions ranked among the top five in the poll’s “national universities” category are Penn State, Tulane, the University of Texas at Austin and Syracuse.
Col. Gerald Smith (USMC-Ret), Director of Texas A&M’s Veteran Resource & Support Center, said the high U.S. News & World Report ranking is the second major recognition the university has received this week for its service to veterans. Earlier, the university was cited by Military Times in its “Best for Vets: Colleges 2014” rankings as one of the top dozen four-year schools in the nation and the leading four-year public school in the state of Texas.
Smith also highlighted the unique “dual office” support structure at Texas A&M. “We have the Veteran Services Office in the office of Scholarships & Financial Aid that focuses on educational benefit processing while our Veteran Resource & Support Center provides many others services. The partnership between these two offices ensures that Aggie Student Veterans are connected with resources to fully support them from application to vocation.”
Texas A&M supports and recognizes veterans in a variety of manners, Col. Smith said. One program that is believed to be unique to Texas A&M is to honor graduating veterans at a reception prior to the commencement ceremonies at which they will receive their degrees and provide them special forms of recognition to wear on their academic regalia if they so choose.
Even with their prior military service, some of the veterans attending Texas A&M choose to be in the Corps of Cadets, Col. Smith noted. With 2,400 members, it is the largest uniformed body on any campus in the country, other than at the service academies, and provides more officers for the armed forces than any other institution, again excluding the service academies.