Montana State University

All four MSU campuses named among nation’s military friendly schools

December 19, 2016 -- MSU News Service

All four Montana State University campuses have been named among the nation's military-friendly schools by MilitaryFriendly.com for its 2017 compilation of schools that support student veterans.

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BOZEMAN – All four Montana State University campuses have been named among the nation’s military-friendly schools by the website MilitaryFriendly.com for its 2017 compilation of schools that support student veterans.

MSU, MSU Billings, MSU Northern and Great Falls College all made the Military Friendly Schools list, which is published annually by Victory Media to help service members and their families select the best college, university or trade school to pursue the education or training they need for a civilian career. Victory Media is publisher of G.I. Jobs, STEM Jobs, Vetrepreneur and Military Spouse.

MSU was listed among large public universities, a category for institutions with more than 10,000 students. Additionally, MSU received a silver award in this category, one of only 26 large public universities to receive silver.

Great Falls College earned a bronze medal in the community college category.

MSU Billings and MSU Northern both met the qualifications for the military-friendly designation in the small public college category.

Brenda York, director of MSU’s Office of Disability, Re-entry and Veteran Services, said schools were held to a higher standard this year than in previous years to earn the military-friendly designation.

“We are honored to again receive recognition from Military Times, especially since the bar to earn a place on this list is raised higher each year,” she said.

To compile its list of military-friendly schools, Victory Media evaluated three public data sources to complete its survey, including information from the U.S. Departments of Education and Veteran Affairs, along with responses from the 1,700 schools that completed its survey. Of the schools that responded to the survey, 1,273 were awarded the “military friendly” designation.

Award-level ratings – Top 10, gold, silver and bronze -- were determined by the institution’s survey results and its ability to meet benchmarks for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, student veterans. This is the first year for the award levels, which were given to 541 schools of the 1,273 that were designated as military friendly.

“All of our award recipients set the standard for excellence,” said Daniel Nichols, chief product officer of Victory Media and head of Military Friendly development. “They offer exceptional examples of what it means not just to build a program that meets federal requirements, but one that serves the military and veteran community from classrooms to careers.”

Each year, staff in MSU’s DRV office work with nearly 600 student-veterans to help them coordinate their finances and get the support they need to succeed in school. The office helps veterans with GI Bill funding and other issues, such as housing and employment.

The office also coordinates scholarships available to veterans and/or their spouses. This year, MSU Veteran Services awarded more than $15,000 in scholarships at its annual veteran appreciation dinner in April.

Among the services MSU provides to veterans are a mentorship program, dedicated counselor, tutoring, priority registration and a veteran center for veterans and their spouses.

This latest designation by MilitaryFriendly.com is among several distinctions MSU has received this year for its commitment to veterans.

In November, Military Times magazine ranked MSU as No. 89 out of 130 four-year universities to make its Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 ranking. MSU was the only institution in Montana to make the list, which has been published in the print and online version of the magazine, as well as in the print and online versions of Air Force Times, Army Times, Marine Corps Times and Navy Times.

And in September, USA Today ranked MSU as No. 136 out of 1,427 best colleges and universities for veterans. The ranking placed MSU in the top 10 percent nationally and put it as the highest-ranked university in the state.

“MSU continues to strive to make veterans and their families feel supported through the many services we offer to help them succeed,” York said.

Brenda York, director, MSU Office of Disability, Re-entry and Veteran Services, (406) 994-2824 or byork@montana.edu

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