The Military Times "Best for Vets: Colleges 2015" list of top online and nontraditional schools is out, and University of Maryland Global Campus is ranked No.1.
Military Times "Best for Vets" is one of the most respected and comprehensive rankings for veterans who are considering higher education. The publication looked at U.S. Department of Education statistics on student success and academic quality, as well as areas such as university culture, student support, and academic policies in evaluating hundreds of schools.
"We are pleased and proud that Military Times has recognized our efforts to provide the best education and the best services to veterans as they pursue their higher education goals," said UMGC President Javier Miyares. "Serving the military and veterans is in our DNA. In fact, UMGC was founded in part to educate soldiers returning from World War II. We are proud of our history and dedicated to providing a quality, affordable, and valued education to those who serve and to those who have served. Veterans face unique and evolving challenges, and UMGC is committed to ensuring they get the education and support services they need to succeed."
UMGC was created in 1947 to serve nontraditional students and became the first institution to send faculty overseas to teach active-duty military personnel in Europe in 1949. Today, more than half of UMGC's students are active-duty military personnel and dependents, veterans, National Guardsmen, or Reservists. Students can choose from more than 90 degrees, specializations, and certificates, most available entirely online to further their military or civilian careers.
UMGC also offers a number of programs uniquely designed for military personnel and veterans, including a dedicated academic advising team; veterans student lounges in academic centers in Largo and Waldorf; a Veterans Resource Center, which offers support on such varied issues as health and well-being, career counseling, transition assistance, and tools for academic and employment success; a veterans club led by UMGC students who are veterans themselves; and VPals, a veteran-to-veteran mentoring program.
UMGC is a member of the Veterans Affairs' VetSuccess on Campus program, which places experienced VA counselors in full-time roles at the university.
"Our basic premise, through all of our programs for military veterans, is to help them become successful and employable," said Kelly Wilmeth, UMGC's associate vice president for military partnerships, and a military spouse herself.
As with all Best for Vets rankings, "Best for Vets: Colleges 2015" is an editorially independent news project that evaluates the many factors that make an organization a good fit for service members, military veterans, and their families.
According to Military Times, the survey-based "Best for Vets: Colleges" doesn't manipulate mainstream research to skew more "veteran." The detailed survey requires schools to meticulously document a tremendous array of services, special rules, accommodations, and financial incentives offered to military and veteran students and to describe many aspects of veteran culture on a campus.
"We factor in what is, to our knowledge, the most detailed school-by-school data on veteran students' academic success anywhere, including graduation, retention, persistence, and course completion rates," said Amanda Miller, editor of "Best for Vets." Two years ago, only 11 percent of the hundreds of schools surveyed could provide that level of detail. This year, that figure is up to 45 percent. "By recognizing only the schools that do the most, we believe we're helping to raise the bar in veteran student services."
The full "Best for Vets: Colleges 2015" rankings were published in the issues of Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times, and Marine Corps Times on newsstands the week of November 10, 2014; in the November issue of Military Times EDGE magazine; and online at MilitaryTimes.com, as well as ArmyTimes.com, NavyTimes.com, AirForceTimes.com, and MarineCorpsTimes.com.