U of A Ranked Among 'Best for Vets' Schools by Military Times
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas was ranked 64th in a list of 130 four-year colleges and universities in “Best for Vets: Colleges 2017” published by Military Times. The publication also rated 20 online and 25 two-year institutions.
The U of A was the only Arkansas school on the list and was ranked 5th among universities in the Southeastern Conference.
“Arkansas has a very high proportion of veterans in its population,” said Erika Gamboa, director of the U of A’s Veterans Resource and Information Center. “At the University of Arkansas we understand our responsibility to make higher education accessible to our veterans. We also know how important it is to make them feel welcome on campus, and to provide the support they need, academically and financially.”
Military Times reports that the U of A had 694 veterans enrolled in 2015, a drop from 913 in 2014. Gamboa attributes the change to the difficulty of identifying veterans on campus.
“About half the people we serve are military dependents – family members of a veteran,” she explained. “In the past they were counted with student veterans, but we have gotten better at distinguishing between the two groups for purposes of surveys such as this one, and our numbers are now more accurate.”
Still, the only way the university knows if students are veterans is if they self-identify when they sign into the UAConnect system.
“This is a problem that Veterans Resource Centers across the nation are also having,” said Gamboa. “It makes it difficult to identify an exact number of veterans on any campus. For our center to continue increasing services, it is important for students to identify themselves as veterans.”
The Veterans Resource and Information Center opened on campus in 2009. This year, the center will move its offices to the Garland Center, in the space previously occupied by the Lewis and Clark store. The new space will provide a lounge for student veterans along with office space for all staff.
“We are glad to be recognized as a ‘Best for Vets’ university, but we still have a great deal more to do,” said Gamboa. “We need to let Arkansas veterans know that there are opportunities for them here at the U of A, and that we are working to help them succeed after they get here. With our new space, we will be able to provide additional services that will assist not only with retention and graduation of military-affiliated students, but also with career opportunities for student veterans through our partnership with the Division of Student Affairs Career Development Center.”
Military Times ranked colleges and universities based on survey information provided by the institutions, along with data provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Education, and the Office of Veterans Affairs. Schools were rated in five main categories: university culture, academic outcomes and quality, student support, academic policies, and cost and financial aid, with campus culture and academic outcomes carrying the most weight.
The full “Best for Vets: Colleges 2017” rankings are available online.
About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.
Erika Gamboa, director
Veterans Resource and Information Center
Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
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