Colleges rank among ‘Best for Vets’ in US


The bronze sculpture by Edward Byrd at GVSU's Steelcase Library in downtown Grand Rapids is based on Dennis Lobbezoo — a Grand Rapids native who was killed during the Vietnam War. Courtesy GVSU

Military Times has released its "Best for Vets" rankings, and three West Michigan universities are among the top 175 academic institutions in the nation for veterans and military service members pursuing higher education.

Regional representation

West Michigan universities included in the "Best for Vets: Colleges 2016" rankings are Western Michigan University, ranked No. 76 in the ranking of four-year schools, Grand Valley State University, ranked No. 111 in the ranking of four-year colleges, and Davenport University, ranked No. 25 in the ranking of online and non-traditional schools.

Military Times has ranked WMU among the best institutions for veterans, military service members and their families for six consecutive years, while GVSU made the ranking for the second year in a row.

Davenport President Richard Pappas said DU is proud to be ranked as one of the best colleges for veterans.

“We have made a conscious effort to create a military-friendly university by offering specialized services to all our student veterans and service members,” Pappas said. “Our continued goal is to provide exemplary service to our military service members, veterans and their families.”

Other Michigan schools

Several other Michigan-based institutions appear in the sixth-annual rankings: Saginaw Valley State University, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Northwood University and Northwestern Michigan College.

Veterans focus on campus

Military Times indicated that based on survey results from participating schools, military and veteran students make up nearly 14 percent of the student populations, about 75 percent of schools have a veterans office and about 80 percent have a military or veterans club.

Nearly 75 percent of the institutions provide military or veteran-related training to faculty, staff and students, while more than 84 percent of schools have at least one staff member who focuses on veteran-related measures.

Amanda Miller, editor of Military Times’ "Best for Vets" rankings, said it has been amazing to witness how many colleges have embraced service members and their families.

“Over the past six years of our surveys, we’ve seen so many schools first begin to foster — through new policies, services and dedicated facilities — and then nurture these wonderful communities,” Miller said.


Military Times’ "Best for Vets" rankings evaluated colleges based on a survey with more than 100 questions related to operations involving current and former service members and formed rankings in five categories: academic outcomes and quality, university culture, student support, academic policies and financial aid.

The comprehensive assessment also takes into account data from the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments, IPEDS Data Center, College Scorecard and Cohort Default Rate Database.

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