UTA No. 1 in nation for veterans and their families
The University of Texas at Arlington is the nation’s No. 1 four-year institution for veterans and their families to earn a college degree, according to Military Times.
The Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges 2020 list recognizes UTA for its 85% veteran graduation rate, its large population of service members and veterans, totaling more than 3,100, and its ample experience working with military-connected students.
The publication also cited UTA for its program “to connect faculty and staff who served in the military with students who served, providing mentors who understand the military background.”
“We are privileged to be able to serve our veterans and military-serving families. They served our nation with distinction and now bring a passion, ‘can-do’ attitude and enthusiasm to campus serving as role models and showing us the importance of commitment, dedication and honor,” UTA President Vistasp Karbhari said. “The recognition by Military Times reflects not just the high level of excellence made possible by our tremendous faculty and staff but also our commitment as a University to serve and support our veterans and military-serving families as they continue their education, and through it their service to our nation.”
James Kumm, executive director of veteran programs at UTA, said his team is committed to helping military-connected students transition into the university, find success while completing their degree programs, earn their diplomas and become workforce ready.
“The Military Times is a publication that every service member and their family is familiar with,” Kumm said. “To be recognized by them for the service we provide to our military-connected students is something the entire campus can be proud of. I am honored and humbled to know that the work our faculty and staff do every day in support of our students is being noticed by an organization with such a large audience.”
UTA’s Office of Military and Veterans Services functions as a hub and one-stop shop for military-connected students by providing 17 coordinated services for veterans in five core areas: transition, health, education benefits, engagement and career development. The office features meeting space for external services, organizations and workshops, tutoring and seminars as well as a student longue with computers and other amenities.
Through Military and Veterans Services, military-connected Mavericks have access to a variety of organizations and programs at UTA, including:
- MavVets, a student veteran organization that provides campus networking with community leaders, access to veterans scholarships and community service opportunities
- A veterans-dedicated education advisor
- Veterans Upward Bound, a program for qualified veterans designed to motivate and assist in developing academic and other requisite skills necessary for acceptance and success in college. Services include refresher classes, weekly tutoring sessions, assistance with financial aid and college applications, academic and career counseling, personal counseling and peer-to-peer mentoring.
- Lockheed Martin Career Development Center, which helps veterans and other students pursue their professional goals and connect them to employment opportunities
- Veteran Orientation, a welcoming event designed specifically for students transitioning to UTA after military service
- Corporate Dialogue Initiative, a cooperative effort between UTA and area companies designed to help the University best prepare student veterans to be ideal job candidates
- VetSuccess on Campus, an on-campus program through the Department of Veterans Affairs aimed at helping veterans, service members and their qualified dependents succeed and thrive through a coordinated delivery of on-campus benefits, assistance and counseling.
State Rep. Tony Tinderholt of Arlington, a veteran of both the Air Force and the Army, congratulated UTA on its support for military-connected students and their families.
“While I’m not surprised, I am proud that UTA values our nation's veterans and families for their selfless service,” Tinderholt said. “Thanks to UTA’s leadership for leading the way for military veterans.”
Yasmine Soto, a U.S. Navy veteran, criminal justice senior and student worker in the Military and Veteran Services office, said UTA offers a strong support system for veterans that is essential when transitioning to civilian life.
“UTA is a welcoming and inclusive university committed to helping students like me succeed,” she said. “UTA has a vast network of resources and people ready to help military students and their families. Those were major deciding factors when I chose where to attend after my service.”
Ensuring students like Yasmine are cared for as individuals is an important part of UTA’s mission, Kumm added.
“We want our students to find a sense of belonging and be proud to call themselves Mavericks,” he said.
Military Times surveyed hundreds of colleges and universities from across the country on their policies related to military and veteran students, academic outcomes, military-supportive cultures and other factors. Its 2020 rankings methodology included an analysis of responses to a rigorous survey of institutions as well as data from the U.S. Departments of Education, Defense and Veterans Affairs to measure schools’ culture, quality and outcomes, policies, student support and affordability.
UTA was ranked No. 7 on the 2019 Best for Vets list and No. 12 on the 2018 list. Other accolades include the Military Order of the Purple Heart designating UTA as a Purple Heart University and No. 1 national rankings for veteran friendliness from College Factual for UTA’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation and for the School of Social Work.