Aug. 17, 2009
UI makes G.I. Job's Best Military Friendly Schools in nation list
The University of Iowa was one of an estimated 1,000 higher education institutions in the nation to make the G.I. Job's 2010 list of Military Friendly Schools. The list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America's veterans as students.
Schools on the list range from state universities and private colleges to community colleges and trade schools. The common bond is their shared priority of recruiting students with military experience. This is the first year the list has been compiled, and 19 other schools in Iowa made the list.
The UI is an attractive institution for the estimated 300 veterans currently on campus because of the combination of a high-quality but affordable education and the availability of resources for disabled veterans, according to Larry Lockwood, assistant provost for enrollment services. Forty percent of UI veterans have a disability of some sort, Lockwood added.
"We have veterans represented in many different academic programs ranging from educational psychology to pharmacy," Lockwood said. "The UI is an especially attractive place for disabled veterans because we have all kinds of disability services on this campus such as the hearing clinic, a great hospital with UI Health Care and the VA Hospital, where they can receive additional treatment. We have the Bionic Bus system, and we have a student support group at the UI Veterans Center including a specific veteran's counselor."
UI officials expect the number of UI veterans to double over the next few years, due in partly due to the new post 9/11 GI Bill launched Aug. 1 and the excellent support services provided on the UI campus.
"As a disabled veteran, I can attest firsthand what a great place University of Iowa is. I could not have gotten in to grad school without the personal support of the staff and resources I received here," said John Mikelson, veteran's advisor with the UI Veterans Center and a December 2008 graduate from the UI College of Education with a master's degree in higher education in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies.
Criteria for making the Military Friendly Schools list included efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students, results in recruiting military and veteran students and academic accreditations.
Mikelson said the UI was chosen based on some of the following strengths: the creation of the UI Student Veterans Association in 2005 and a UI Veterans Center in 2006; a $500 per semester grant for undergraduate veterans Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and/or Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan; instate undergraduate tuition rates for all veterans and dependents, as well as waiver of readmission fees for returning Guard and Reserves. The state legislature granted state residency to any veteran who moves to the state to pursue an undergraduate degree, Lockwood said.
Lockwood added that an additional reason UI made the list is the university's policy regarding students who are ordered to active duty during a semester.
"Many of our National Guard and Army Reservists are called to active duty for six months to over a year. We offer them grades if the faculty feel that a majority of the work is completed, or withdrawal with full refund, and when they return, they re-enter without a fee charge," Lockwood said. "When these men and women provide service during a time of war and are removed from their family environment and are put in harms way, they should be rewarded. This is one way to do that."
The Office of Veterans Services, located in the UI Office of the Registrar, coordinates the university's services to veterans attending classes and receiving veterans' benefits. For more information, visit http://www.registrar.uiowa.edu/veterans/ or http://www.uiva.org.
The list was compiled through exhaustive research starting last May when G.I. Jobs polled more than 7,000 schools nationwide. Methodology, criteria and weighting for the list were developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Committee (AAC) consisting of educators and administrators from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Toledo, Duquesne University, Coastline Community College and Lincoln Technical Institute.
A full story and detailed list of Military Friendly Schools will be highlighted in the annual Guide to Military Friendly Schools and on a poster, both of which will be distributed to hundreds of thousands of active and former military personnel in September. A new Web site, located at www.militaryfriendlyschools.com, will launch in September with interactive tools and search functionality to assist military veterans in choosing schools that best meet their educational needs.
G.I. Jobs (www.gijobs.com) is published by Victory Media, a veteran-owned business headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa. The company also publishes The Guide to Military Friendly Schools, Military Spouse and Vetrepreneur magazines and annually rates the nation's "Military Friendly Employers," "Military Spouse Friendly Employers" and "Best Corporations for Veteran-Owned Businesses."
The complete 2010 Military-Friendly School List can be found at www.militaryfriendlyschools.com/mfspr.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500