Columbus State University, Columbus Technical College and Chattahoochee Valley Community have been designated as 2017 Military Friendly Schools.
They are among the 1,273 institutions given the honor by Victory Media, a Pennsylvania-based company that helps veterans transition into civilian careers. Georgia has 39 Military Friendly Schools, including the Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, and Alabama has 22, including Auburn University, Troy University and the University of Alabama.
Victory Media has published the annual list since 2009. This is the fifth straight year CSU was recognized and the fourth straight year for Columbus Tech.
For the 2017 list, Victory Media used three categories in its scoring: publicly available data from federal agencies, personal opinion data from veterans and proprietary data from surveys of participating institutions, according to its website. Final results were determined by combining the survey scores with an assessment of the institution’s ability to meet minimum rates in six areas: student veteran retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence and loan default.
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“Columbus State University is proud to be recognized as a Military Friendly School and places a high priority on serving our military affiliated students,” Susan Lovell, director of military enrollment at CSU, said in the university’s news release. “A key component of that priority is helping them in their transition out of the military and into college. Aside from helping with this transition, we also want to engage with our military affiliated students, with events including our Military Appreciation Week celebration.”
Among the ways CSU shows that appreciation throughout the year:
▪ Fee reductions for all active-duty soldiers.
▪ Two full-time enrollment counselors at Fort Benning.
▪ Six classes this semester on post and seven courses planned on post next semester. Plans include a possible two-year criminal justice degree on post.
▪ An ROTC program with two briefings monthly in the Green-to-Gold program at Fort Benning.
▪ A partnership with the Maneuver Captains Career Course to offer graduate degrees, including a master’s degree in organizational leadership and a master’s degree in public administration.
▪ A new Military Service Center on main campus to better serve soldiers, veterans and their dependents who are enrolled. The center contains a lounge and computer lab with six computers.
▪ Three full-time staff and three student veterans who assist students with veteran educational benefits and enrollment information on main campus.
▪ The Student Veteran Association, which has more than 20 active members this semester.
At Columbus Tech, military students are offered dozens of transferable programs with financial aid opportunities, including VA benefits and the GI Bill, the college said in a news release. Army veteran Donald Thrasher was named Columbus Tech’s 2016 Student of the Year.
“As a disabled veteran and because I had faced certain criteria during the most recent economic downturn, I qualified to have much of my education paid for,” Thrasher said in Columbus Tech’s news release. “Had it not been for the VA, I may not have been able to attend school.”
Thrasher served in the 24th Infantry Division from 1988-1992 and was deployed for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. He graduated in June with an associate’s degree in respiratory care technology and is working full time at Midtown Medical Center, according to the news release.
Columbus Tech also has a partnership with Fort Benning.
“We are making great strides in providing educational and job-training opportunities to individuals associated with the military,” Columbus Tech president Lorette Hoover said in the news release. “Our presence at Benning continues to grow with the college not only offering several classes on post for military personnel and their families but complete programs as well.”