UofSC ranked #1 college in country for veterans and military service members
By Grace Salter, firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of South Carolina has been ranked the No. 1 “2022 Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges” by the Military Times. The ranking, which covers 311 public and private institutions, serves as the gold standard among the veteran and military community in terms of higher education.
This is the second year in a row that the university has been recognized as a “Best for Vets” institution, with its first ranking in school history as No. 114 in 2021. Prior to 2021, the university did not have a designated centralized location for veterans to gather, study and reap the benefits of the services available to them. In January 2021, the university opened the Veterans and Military Center of Excellence in the heart of campus across from the Horseshoe, providing a sense of community for this population.
“It’s unbelievable to think about how far the University of South Carolina has come in a relatively short amount of time and the impact student veterans had on initiating this enhanced commitment by the university,” said Jared Evans, executive director for Veterans and Military Affairs. “We are honored to be the No. 1 university in the country for veterans and service members. It truly is a team effort, and we are fortunate to have an amazing group of supporters who are committed to leaving the university better than they found it, and truly believe in serving those who serve.”
The Veterans and Military Center of Excellence has fundamentally transformed how the university engages with and supports this population, by providing services and programs from the moment students walk onto campus, to the point where they are preparing to graduate and pursue their next career. Some key attributes that set the university apart from other institutions are its active Student Veterans Association and its career readiness and employer partnerships.
“We are so proud of the learning and student experience that we are able to offer our military service members and student veterans,” says Mary Alexander, assistant provost who supervises military engagement and veteran initiatives on campus. “The team that we have in place to support these students is world-class, and I only anticipate this support growing in the coming years under our university’s new leadership. We are excited to be recognized for the support we provide and will continue strengthening this support in the years to come.”
The Columbia campus serves approximately 2,000 military-affiliated students including Veterans, Active-Duty service members, ROTC, National Guardsmen, Reservists and family members. Over the course of four years, UofSC has seen enrollment among the military affiliated population grow by 27%. The Department of Veterans and Military Affairs, established in 2018, is tasked with implementing a university-wide strategy centered on serving those who serve. As a population that excels academically, increases diversity and minority representation, and graduates with little to no debt, the veteran and military population has been a driving force behind the overall success and growth of military initiatives on campus.
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