November 11, 2019

University honored for veteran, military-family supports

For the third year in a row, Nebraska is ranked among the top 30 U.S. universities for supporting veterans and their dependents.
Craig Chandler | University Communication

Craig Chandler | University Communication
Through programs like the Military and Veteran Success Center, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln remains a national leader in providing necessary supports for veterans and military-connected students.

Recent national rankings and a state honor are reflecting the strength of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s supports for veterans and military-connected students.

The university recently finished second among Big Ten institutions and 34th in the nation in the Military Times’ Best for Vets: Colleges 2020 rankings. It was also the first to earn Nebraska’s new Veteran and Active Duty Military Supportive Postsecondary Institution designation.

“This ranking and state award are clear indications of the outstanding commitment this university has to ensure that military dependents, veterans, active duty, guard and reserve students accomplish their academic and career goals,” said Joe Brownell, director of the university’s Military and Veteran Success Center. “This is truly a military-friendly institution.”

Now in its fourth year of operation, the Military and Veteran Success Center is a central reason behind the university’s strength in assisting veterans and military-connected students. Prior to its opening, the university was No. 102 in the Best for Vets ranking.

The center offers a range of support services — from quiet study spaces and computer access to one-on-one military benefits assistance and career counseling. It is intended as a place to help student veterans and military dependents with the transition to college life will helping build toward academic success.

Brownell said the center also partners with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to offer counseling and regularly offers education/training on services offered with faculty and staff.

“We also work with New Student Enrollment and Big Red Welcome to make sure that students are aware that we’re here and that we offer support services for them,” Brownell said.

The center currently assists about 1,500 students on campus. Of those, a little more than 900 are military dependents, with veterans and active duty/guard/reserves equally divided amongst the remaining 600 students.

In the most recent academic year, the center also reached out to campus to expand programming. Events included working with Campus Recreation and the Outdoor Adventures Center to bring Stacy Bare, an outdoor enthusiast and veteran, to campus for a lecture.

In the current academic year, Brownell said the center will aim to increase its programming, work with campus units to increase connections with campus veterans and military-connected students, develop a network of faculty and staff who served or are serving in the military, and increase the number of women veterans who access the center.

For the Military Times’ Best for Bets: Colleges 2020 rankings, higher education institutions from across the United States participate by completing a rigorous survey of nearly 150 questions regarding campus services that support current and former military members and their families. Only 137 of the more than 500 participating universities made the final rankings.

Including Nebraska, only five Big Ten institutions were featured in the ranking. Rutgers University led the conference at No. 13. Indiana was No. 70, with Maryland and Michigan at 95 and 132, respectively.

Nebraska’s Veteran and Active Duty Military Supportive Postsecondary Institution was launched by the Nebraska Legislature with the passage of LB486 earlier this year.

To earn the designation, a postsecondary institution must meet at least five of eight standards — which include employing staff trained for and designated to work directly with military students and veterans; have a military leave-of-absence policy; and offer counseling and advising services for military-linked students.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the first in the state to earn the three-year renewable designation, met all eight of the established criteria.

Learn more about military and veteran success at Nebraska.