UT is ranked fifteenth in the nation among all public and private universities in U.S. News and World Report’s inaugural rankings for Best Colleges for Veterans.
The new ranking category provides data and information on schools that assist veterans and active service members with pursuing a college education under the Post-9/11 GI Bill by providing federal benefits, which include tuition and housing assistance.
U.S. News uses its annual Best Colleges data to rank the schools that meet three specific criteria: certification for the GI Bill, participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program, and membership in the Service Opportunity Colleges Consortium (SOCC).
UT formed the Task Force in Support of Student Veterans in 2011 to involve faculty, staff, and students in supporting the unique needs of service men and women and their families. The group seeks to acknowledge the sacrifices of veterans and provide the resources needed for enrolling and succeeding at UT. Also in 2011, UT expanded its Veterans Affairs enrollment services by adding priority registration.
Currently, 908 UT students have registered as active military service members or veterans or as dependents of active military service members or veterans.
The Office of Veterans Affairs has just expanded to two full-time staff members and currently employs four work-study students.
“We have new procedures in place to streamline the certification process and have office staff available to assist and guide our student veterans and family members throughout the semester,” said Jayetta Rogers, a veterans affairs coordinator. “Our goal is to help our military students succeed.”
The Veterans Affairs office also works closely with the Safety, Environment, and Education (SEE) Center to coordinate veteran and military student events throughout the semester, as well as serve on the Task Force in Support of Student Veterans.
“We are proud of the recognition for our efforts to better serve our veterans and their families,” said Ashley Blamey, director of the SEE Center and chair of the Task Force in Support of Student Veterans.
“Our student veterans bring a unique leadership and life experience which benefits us all. They have helped us to develop the programs and expand the services that matter the most,” Blamey said. “Several initiatives are in the works to further enhance our level of support.”
UT added a new event this fall – a welcome home dinner for student, faculty, and staff veterans. It also began holding an annual National Remembrance Day Roll Call in 2011 to memorialize soldiers lost since September 11, 2001. Several campus-wide initiatives help the campus thank service men and women, like the new Buddy Poppies program held the week of Memorial Day.
Goals are to add a separate student orientation for student veterans and active duty members.
“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,” said Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer for U.S. News. “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.”
U.S. News ranked 234 ranked schools across all of its Best Colleges divisions. UT is ranked 101st among all national universities and forty-seventh among all public universities in the 2014 U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges ranking.
More than 773,000 veterans and their loved ones have taken advantage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provides tuition and housing assistance to eligible veterans and their family members, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
For more information about the rankings visit U.S. News.
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Karen Simsen (865-974-5186, email@example.com)