Todd Hughes

New ranking names USF the nation’s top college for veterans

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: November 01, 2016

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 1, 2016) – The University of South Florida has been named the best four-year college in the United States for veterans by Military Times EDGE magazine.

The “Best for Vets: Colleges 2017″ rankings released Tuesday recognize accredited institutions of higher learning for their commitment to the success of student veterans. USF has consistently placed in the top five, but this is the university’s first time earning the top spot on the annual list.

“It is quite an honor to be ranked number one by this highly respected publication,” said Lawrence Braue, director of the Office of Veteran Success at USF and Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.). “USF has long been committed to serving those who have served in the military.”

The ranking also pertains to campuses within the USF System, including USF Sarasota-Manatee, which opened a Veterans Success Center in May to address the needs of USFSM’s student veteran population.

“Our team has always taken pride in giving student veterans and their families the very best service possible,” said Todd Hughes, USFSM veterans services administrator. “Being recognized in this manner is an honor and a humbling experience.”

The magazine evaluates institutions in five main categories: university culture, academic outcomes/quality, student support, academic policies and cost/financial aid. Evaluations were completed based on a comprehensive 150-question survey submitted by each school, as well as the analysis of public data from three different federal agencies, responses of veterans about what is important to them and the editorial judgment of the magazine.

In the publication, Military Times highlights USF’s proactive efforts to assist student veterans, track their progress and counsel them through their college experience.

With an 83 percent retention rate and 68 percent graduation rate, USF student veterans are highly successful in the transition from the military to college.

“Our goal has always been to find ways to connect veterans with our university and each other,” said Braue. “To ensure their success, we began tracking academic performance more closely and being more proactive in connecting directly with the veteran to offer our assistance. By introducing services like tutoring or counseling, we are very successful in keeping student veterans on the path to graduation.”

The dedicated staff of USF’s Office of Veteran Success is made up of veterans who eagerly assist nearly 1,600 student veterans and their dependents with benefits processing, peer tutoring and career/professional development – all while providing encouragement and camaraderie.

Included with the Army Times, Air Force Times, Marine Corps Times and Navy Times, Military Times EDGE magazine reaches service members in all branches of the military.

Last year Money magazine also named USF the number one college in the country for veterans.

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