By Jeff Murphy, November 7, 2023
WARRENSBURG, MO – Military Times, which provides the largest comprehensive annual ranking of higher education institutions for military service members and veterans, has named the University of Central Missouri among its 2023 Best for Vets: Colleges. UCM earned the highest overall rankings among all public and private Missouri institutions.
This designation is based on the results of a survey that was sent to colleges and universities across the nation asking about higher education programs for veterans. The survey results were analyzed, along with public data about colleges and universities obtained from the Department of Education and Department of Veterans Affairs, and turned into an official Military Times ranking. Institutions were asked to complete the survey earlier this year and the responses were then analyzed by the Military Times data team to produce an unbiased annual ranking.
In its first year of inclusion in this Military Times online compilation of the 325 best colleges and universities for veterans, UCM was ranked 5th in the Central region; 41st overall; 39th for institutions that primarily have in-person enrollment; and 40th in general education.. The rankings can be found on the new Best for Vets website: bestforvets.com.
For more than a decade, Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges has continued to serve and support the military community through its rankings and reporting on the top colleges and universities for veterans.
“Our comprehensive survey and thoughtful methodology make our rankings best in class,” said Mike Gruss, editor-in-chief at Sightline Media Group, parent company of Military Times.
“I am very excited about this recognition as it shows the commitment and hard work our campus puts in to support our military affiliated-student population,” said Courtney Swoboda, a veteran of the United States Air Force who also serves as director of Military and Veteran Services at UCM.
She added,“The Military and Veterans Success Center is highly engaged with our students and campus partners to educate them on our office, resources, and benefits. We put our students first and are always looking for better ways to support them. I am very proud of our program and our campus."
The rankings have become a popular resource for higher education institutions to spread the word about their veteran programs and help veterans make important decisions about their educational planning and how to use the education benefits they earned through military service. UCM has a strong relationship with individuals who serve in all branches of the military. While it is in close proximity to Whiteman Air Force Base and offers courses at the base, it has online course and degree offerings that can reach individuals across the globe, including those military members who may be deployed.
The university also offers in-state tuition for all active duty and military veterans and a Military Tuition Package that helps reduce costs not covered by traditional military benefits. Additionally, UCM provides in-state rates to the spouses and children of military members and veterans, and if eligible they also can receive the Military Tuition Package, receive support from Military and Veterans Services, and discounts that make their education more affordable. UCM also provides a Command Pass that enables military members enrolled at UCM free admission to home athletic games and theatre events.
While such opportunities are ongoing, many additional efforts have been taken over the past three years to assist individuals affiliated with the military. This includes working on numerous projects such as updating furniture and creating a quiet study computer lab in the Military and Veterans Success Center, a facility that was created more than a decade ago as a one-stop resource to serve active duty military and veterans who are enrolled at UCM. Other initiatives include partnerships such as becoming an AU-ABC- approved (Air University Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative within the Community College of the Air Force) institution, and collaboration with departments on campus such as the Career and Life Design Center to provide opportunities to attend job fairs and use other resources that serve active duty military members and veterans. The university also recently obtained a new golf cart that is used for Veteran Lead Tours and to assist any disabled veterans to and from classes.
About Military Times
The Military Times is a source for independent news and information for service members and their families. The military community relies on Air Force Times, Army Times, Marine Corps Times, and Navy Times for reporting on everything important to their lives, including branch-specific news, pay, benefits, finance, education, health care, recreational resources, retirement, promotions, product reviews, and entertainment. Military Times is owned by Sightline Media Group. To learn more, visit www.militarytimes.com.