UTA was recently named as the No. 1 four-year institution for veterans to get a bachelor’s or graduate degree in the Military Times 2020 rankings.
Each year the Military Times sends out an invitation to participate in an evaluation to about 4,000 schools, said James Kumm, Military and Veteran Services executive director. About 2,000 of those respond, and the Military Times then ranks the top 400, with the top 100 going on their website.
The evaluation has about 300 questions and some ask how many veterans are served on campus, the services offered, whether or not GI benefits are offered and retention rates, Kumm said. Schools are then ranked based on those results.
About two years ago, Kumm said UTA was ranked No. 36. In 2019, they were ranked No. 7, and now they have the coveted No. 1 spot.
The talk will discuss often overlooked problems military veterans face.
Transitioning to university and making the college process easier are ways UTA has earned the first-place ranking, business management senior Jessica Oxley said.
Oxley served in the Army for about four years and said when looking for a university, she looked for one that was veteran friendly and had a big veteran population.
For Oxley, UTA fit the bill. She has connected with veteran students and made friends, she said.
“I’m not from Texas. I don’t really have family or anything here, so it was really welcoming to meet other veterans here and connect with them,” she said.
Now Oxley works at the Military and Veteran Services Center, where she helps process GI Bill paperwork and helps students register for classes. Getting to talk to veterans every day and being able to listen and relate to their stories has been a cool experience, she said.
“Knowing that you have at least one or two people that are there to support you, back you up and answer all those questions that you have, I think, is gonna make [a] difference in students being successful,” Kumm said.
UTA has a plethora of services available to student veterans on campus, from a veteran orientation to cooking classes and education on benefits, he said.
For Kumm, the work doesn’t stop here. It’s very rare for a university to hold the ranking for more than a year, he said.
“Just because we got this ranking doesn’t mean that we can stop or should stop serving and working with our student veterans,” he said.
He said Military and Veteran Services is still committed to building their programs and reaching the vision of a university that goes beyond the ranking.
“There’s always room for improvement,” Kumm said. “And we can always keep doing more.”