Proud Veteran –– Degree in hand, Terri Jean Ledlow is all smiles after graduating on December 12. A veteran as noted by her red-white-and-blue honor cords, she received a business degree and earned highest academic honors, summa cum laude.
Military Advanced Education & Transition (MAE&T) has awarded The University of North Carolina at Pembroke its “Top School” designation in the “2016 Guide to Colleges & Universities.” The guide measures best practices in military and veteran education.
In its ninth year, the college guide was released late in December, and is available online at www.mae-kmi.com. This is UNCP’s second military friendly designation from a national publication this fall.
The guide presents the military-supportive policies enacted at more than 600 institutions, including private, public, for-profit, not-for-profit, four-year and two-year colleges. MAE&T’s “2016 Guide to Colleges & Universities” arms students with information about institutions that go out of their way to give back to the men and women in uniform.
There are several reasons that UNCP fares well in national ratings for service to vets, active duty service men and women and their families. The university maintains a staffed office on Fort Bragg and offers complete academic programs on base and online. The university had nearly 900 military-related students enrolled in the fall semester 2015.
Another reason UNCP scores with the military is the work of retired Col. Mike Clawson, the university’s coordinator of the Office of Military and Veteran Services.
“As a military-friendly school, we are committed to providing support for our military student’s education and career goals,” Clawson said. “Everyday on campus, I see faculty and staff, exercising a deeply rooted commitment to supporting veterans as these students make the transition to higher education.
“I know we can always improve, but we continually strive to sharpen our focus on the best practices that make a true difference to service members, student veterans and their families,” he said.
MAE&T was the first publication to launch a reference tool of this type. This year, institutions were evaluated on their military culture, financial aid, flexibility, general support, on-campus support and online support services. Each school’s performance rating by category is represented by an easy-to-recognize dashboard. This enables prospective students to quickly target schools that follow best practices in military education, and then put these in context with other academic or career considerations.
With input from an advisory board of educational and government experts, and criteria based on recommendations from the Veterans Administration and military services, MAE&T’s “Guide to Colleges and Universities” provides the foundational information a prospective student would use in framing his or her educational needs.
“Our goal is to be a dynamic resource for active service members and those who have moved from the military to their civilian careers, helping them find the school that best fits their plans for the future,” said Kelly Fodel, Military Advanced Education & Transition’s editor. “We think this year’s Guide is our most comprehensive to date, thanks to our newly established advisory board. The board evaluated the drafts of the questionnaire, made pages of notes and suggestions and helped to redefine questions for clarity. We thank them for their thoughtful edits and additions to our process.”
Not only is the 2016 guide printed in the December issue of Military Advanced Education &Transition, but also published in a searchable database online. Students will have access to all the survey questions and answers provided by the schools, as well as explanations about critical issues like activation and deployment policies, withdrawal policies, scholarship and financial aid information and important support information.
“While we realize that all schools are unique, we focus our annual survey on the best practices that make a true difference to service members and student veterans,” said Fodel. “These best practices have been asserted by various higher education groups and reinforced by veteran groups, and we consider our survey to be the most detailed and informative in the industry.”
Visit www.mae-kmi.com for online access to MAE&T’s 2016 Guide to Colleges and Universities, or pick up a copy of the December issue of Military Advanced Education & Transition.
For more information about special programs for veterans or active duty service men and women at UNCP, please contact the Office Military and Veteran Services at 910.775.4438 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.