Colorado State University’s continued commitment to better serve military veterans has been recognized by Military Times as the university placed No. 4 in the nation among public universities in its annual “Best for Vets: Colleges 2017” rankings.
CSU ranks at No. 6 overall this year, a jump from the No. 13 rank it received in 2016, the first time it participated in the survey. Military Times (http://bestforvets.militarytimes.com/) annually reviews more than 500 colleges and universities and evaluates the many factors that help make them a good fit for service members, military veterans, and their families. CSU is the only Colorado school ranked in the Military Times top 50 schools.
“We are proud to be recognized as one of the top universities for veterans,” said Mark Gill, CSU President Tony Frank’s chief of staff and a retired Air Force colonel. “This would not have been possible without outstanding staff, dedicated students and extraordinarily generous donors to CSU. We’re on the right path when it comes to service to our veterans transitioning from the military to higher education and into sustainable careers, but there is more work to be done. Our goal is to continue to grow our programs and opportunities and ensure that every veteran finds success at CSU.”
CSU has taken numerous recent steps to make sure veterans and their families feel welcome while successfully progressing to meet their higher education and career goals.
Laura Feger, a senior studying equine sciences and veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps., said she was reluctant to spend much time with other student-veterans when she began at CSU, believing the transition from the military to a university would be easier if she jumped in as a civilian college student. Once Feger discovered the programs and services offered by CSU’s Adult Learner and Veteran Services office, however, she said it has become a second home to her.
“I love the ALVS office. They are expanding everyone’s ideas of diversity and creating an atmosphere of respect and learning for veterans and adult learners,” Feger said.
Noteworthy veteran-centric programs at CSU include:
• The Anschutz Veterans Learning Community, modeled after other successful learning communities at CSU, is helping student-veterans succeed academically.
• The creation of a Women’s Veteran Initiative to engage women student-veterans and continue to build community.
• A peer mentoring program through which every new student-veteran is connected with a veteran peer mentor.
• Private donations from individuals and foundations, including the Anschutz Foundation, David and Gail Liniger of ReMax, and alumnus Dennis Repp, have significantly boosted scholarship and program funding.
• CSU hosted in October its biennial two-day Veterans Symposium, bringing together veterans, national veterans service leaders and employers to discuss and develop best practices for student-veterans.
• New Start for Student-Veterans, in the College of Health and Human Sciences’ Department of Occupational Therapy, works to help veterans with physical and mental trauma achieve college and career success.
• CSU recently unveiled a program offering up to $2,500 per semester for military spouses of CSU students who would also like to pursue degrees in higher education. The scholarship was made possible by the Anschutz Foundation.
“It’s nice that Military Times has ranked us as the No. 4 public institution for veterans, but this gives us room to improve,” said Marc Barker, director of Adult Learner and Veteran Services at CSU and a U.S. Army veteran. “At the end of the day, what it really means is that we’re delivering great programming, a quality education and career services to our student-veterans.”
Veterans and those active in military service across the country are taking notice of CSU’s commitment to their success. Nearly 2,000 veterans, dependents of veterans and active duty students currently are enrolled.
Bob Reynolds, a senior studying agricultural sciences and former Marine, said CSU’s outstanding reputation with regard to opportunities for student-veterans, is the main reason he chose CSU on his GI Bill benefits.
“I was in Afghanistan and looking online for places to study agriculture in college,” Reynolds said. “I was looking at some really good schools in Texas, but when I looked into CSU’s rankings and everything this school had to offer, I enrolled here. The programs and support have really helped make my transition a lot easier than it could have been.”
For more information about CSU’s veterans services visit http://veteransresources.colostate.edu/