“Military Times” has announced the 2014 “Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges” list, and West Virginia University at Parkersburg is ranked sixth among 38 colleges. Approximately 80 career and technical colleges were evaluated for the list.
According to “Military Times,” the list allows veterans to see which schools have put the most thought and effort into tailoring programs and policies around their unique experience. By factoring in academic quality, “Best for Vets” provides service men and women a gauge by which to judge whether a school or degree program will truly benefit them.
To qualify for the list, schools were evaluated in five categories: university culture, student support, academic policies, academic quality and financial aid, with university culture and student support carrying the most weight.
The extensive evaluation process also factored in statistics commonly used to track student success and academic quality, including student loan default rates, retention rates, graduation rates, student-faculty ratio and percentage of full-time faculty.
“We highly value our student veterans at WVU Parkersburg, and we continue to look at ways for improving our services and providing a positive experience for them,” said President Dr. Marie Foster Gnage. “They have served and continue to serve our country, and it’s our chance to serve them.”
Earlier this year, the college hired a new veterans’ advocate, Shawn Healy. A veteran himself, Healy’s military background includes 10 years of service with the Army National Guard. He is a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was a M2A3 Bradley fighting vehicle commander, staff sergeant and squad leader. Healy is a recipient of the General Patton award as well as the Army Commendation, Army Achievement, Army Good Conduct, and Iraq Campaign medals.
Healy’s plans in his new role as veterans’ advocate include identifying external community-based organizations serving veterans and establishing a network to recruit veterans to the college. He is also developing programs and activities for WVU Parkersburg employees and students to increase their understanding of student veteran needs. He is collaborating with other departments within the college to implement learning, teaching and support strategies to help student veterans succeed.
In addition, Healy recently started the campus Veterans Corps with the goal of giving student veterans a voice in the college and providing a way for them to perform community service activities.
Future plans for WVU Parkersburg include transforming the college’s former Center for Early Learning, which is now located in a new building on the main campus, into a Veterans Resource Center. The Center will include a lounge and computer lab for veterans and will also provide networking, advising and other services to student veterans on campus.
The rankings are published in full in the September issue of “Military Times EDGE” magazine and online at MilitaryTimes.com as well as ArmyTimes.com, NavyTimes.com, AirForceTimes.com and MarineCorpsTimes.com.
The heralded series of Best for Vets survey-based rankings includes: Career & Technical Colleges, Employers, Colleges, Business Schools, Franchises, and Law Enforcement.
“As with all of the Best for Vets rankings, Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges is an editorially independent news project that evaluates the many factors that make an institution a good fit for military veterans,” said Amanda Miller, editor of “Military Times EDGE.”
Visit http://projects.militarytimes.com/best-for-veterans/colleges/career-technical-colleges/2014/ to view the complete rankings, including facts on total enrollment, military enrollment, whether tuition is covered by military education benefits, staff and academic support, accreditation and more.