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For the second time in four years, Military Times has ranked University of Maryland University College (UMUC) #1 in its annual survey of the best online and non-traditional universities for military personnel and veterans.

“The rankings were more competitive than ever this year, as a record number of schools participated in our annual survey, and less than half made the cut,” the publication said in announcing its “Military Times: Best Colleges 2018” list.

“While we have always taken great pride in our long history of serving the higher education needs of the military, this recognition by Military Times reflects UMUC’s strengthening commitment today,” said UMUC President Javier Miyares. “Within the past year, for instance, we launched a new online portal aimed at supporting veterans, as well as a new peer mentoring program and a new tutoring program.”

Military Times evaluated schools based on their survey responses, and on data from the federal departments of Education, Defense and Veterans Affairs. The schools were examined in five categories—university culture, academic quality and outcomes, policies, student support, and cost and financial aid.

The Military Times article on its rankings noted that nearly half of UMUC’s students are veterans or active-duty service members. It praised the university for the specific programs it has developed for military personnel and veterans.

“Students can take advantage of Mil-Vet Checkpoint, the school’s online version of its student veteran lounge,” the article noted. “There, students can interact with other veterans, see job advertisements and access digital books.”

Keith Hauk, UMUC’s associate vice president for stateside veterans’ initiatives and military support, who was quoted in the Military Times piece, said that veterans and military personnel get the same experience at UMUC whether they’re taking classes with us stateside, in Europe or in Asia.

In a subsequent interview, Hauk noted that UMUC is celebrating its 70th anniversary and founded primarily to serve veterans returning from World War II. The university also answered the call from the Defense Department and began sending faculty overseas to teach active duty personnel in Europe in 1949 and in Asia in 1956.

“This ranking is a reflection on what UMUC has stood for all these years,” he said. “The university has always been about the care of military personnel and veterans. We are focused on getting them where they want to go in their lives. It’s the mission of the entire staff and faculty.”

Military Times is an independent publication aimed at military personnel in the United States and around the world. For the past four years, as well as ranking number one twice, UMUC has remained in the top 10, finishing third and seventh in the publication’s annual list.

Kelly Wilmeth, vice president for Stateside Military Operations, noted that more than 600 institutions completed the Military Times’ survey to take part in this year’s rankings.

“This is an amazing honor,” she said. “It reflects the enormous global effort that our staff and faculty put forth to ensure the success of our nation’s heroes.”

UMUC recently expanded its footprint in the U.S. by opening an education center adjacent to Ft. Hood in Killeen, Texas, and recently signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Army Cyber School at Ft. Gordon in Georgia to serve as its education partner for soldiers pursuing a degree in cybersecurity.