Veterans find a home at UTA
After serving four years in the U.S. Navy, Yasmine Soto knew she wanted to return home to North Texas to pursue higher education.
What she didn’t know was which university to attend, how to use her earned military benefits or what the college admissions process would look like. But one school rose above the rest: The University of Texas at Arlington.
“When I was doing my research, UTA really stood out,” said Soto, who is on track to obtain a degree in criminal justice in 2020. “The Office of Military and Veterans Services answered my questions and directed me to the appropriate people. I felt the staff was really dedicated to providing the help I need to succeed, even before I started school here.”
That approach has helped UTA become the nation’s No. 1 four-year institution for veterans and their families to earn a college degree, according to Military Times. In its 2020 Best for Vets list, the publication recognized UTA for its 85% veteran graduation rate, its large population of service members and veterans and its ample experience working with military-connected students.
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 the College of Nursing and Health Innovation and the School of Social Work.
James Kumm, executive director Military and Veteran Services at UTA, said stories like Soto’s are the norm, not an exception.
“Our faculty and staff are dedicated to ensuring our students not only receive the services and support they need to be successful in the classroom, but also become part of the UTA campus community,” Kumm said. “Our ultimate goal is to help military-connected students transition into the University, find success, earn their diplomas and become workforce-ready.”
Domingo Padron, who served 28 years in the U.S. National Guard, is set to graduate at the end of the fall 2019 semester. Padron, who will receive a bachelor’s degree in history and a teaching certificate, said navigating the transition from the military to civilian life can be difficult.
“I had a lot of mentors at UTA who helped me believe that I could do this,” he said. “Nobody said it would be easy. But I'm almost at the end.”
Kumm is grateful to help students such as Soto and Padron every day.
“Veterans should choose UTA because they are going to receive an excellent education,” he said. “But in addition to obtaining a well-respected degree, they will also receive the support they need to have amazing careers.”