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Arizona State University has forged a reputation as one of the nation’s most military-friendly schools thanks to programs aimed primarily at veterans who have left the service.
And this year, ASU has scored a spot among the top 100 four-year schools for active-duty students, as well.
The Military Times, a publication for active-duty military members and their families, released its annual rankings today.
The “Best for Vets” colleges survey asks colleges and universities to document services, special rules, accommodations and financial incentives offered to students with military ties; and to describe many aspects of veteran culture on a campus.
The 500 institutions which participated were evaluated in several categories, with university culture and academic outcomes bearing the most weight.
The Pat Tillman Veterans Center is the heart of ASU’s military student efforts, and director Steven Borden wasn’t surprised by the ranking.
“We’ve had a fair numbers of veterans feel the center has made a huge difference in preparing them for college and helping them connect with other veterans,” Borden said, noting that most of the 5,200 service members attending ASU are veterans, not active duty.
The 5-year-old center employs two full-time military advocates who help engage student veterans in campus life and pass hurdles during their studies. About 60 student veterans are employed at the center, which has locations at all five ASU campuses.
“We are continuing to take a concerted approach to outreach to our students to get them engaged on campus,” Borden said. “Engagement on campus is a huge part of student veteran success.”
ASU offers a veteran-specific introductory course: Student Success for Veterans. Designed for the veteran student, the course provides an outstanding opportunity to get to know other veterans and to learn about various resources available from Arizona State University, the state of Arizona and the Department of Veteran Affairs. The objective is to forge positive relationships among a small network of veterans for academic success, university integration, resource management and transitional support.
Joining clubs and activities, working in internships or undergraduate research opportunities, or studying abroad all help round out resumes and prepare student veterans for life after graduation.
“Many of them are not aware of the importance of engaging on campus,” Borden said. “A lot of them don’t necessarily think about all of the things they can do to be engaged on campus.”
Tuition at ASU is offered at in-state rates to all veterans who have been honorably discharged from all branches, including the National Guard and Reserves. The university has been named a "Military Friendly School" by G.I. Jobs magazine for seven years in a row in 2015.