The nation’s most comprehensive assessment has ranked the University of Nebraska–Lincoln among the best universities for veteran and military student success.
In the Military Times’ Best for Vets: Colleges 2019 ranking, released Oct. 22, Nebraska is No. 25. This is the third year in a row Nebraska has been in the top 30, including a No. 24 ranking in 2017 and No. 29 in 2018.
Nebraska is ranked the second-best among Big Ten institutions, with Rutgers University at No. 3.
“This ranking is a clear indication of the outstanding commitment by university leaders, faculty and staff to ensure that military dependents, veterans, active duty, guard and reserve students accomplish their academic and career goals,” said Joe Brownell, director of Nebraska’s Military and Veteran Success Center. “I am honored and privileged to be a part of this amazing team.”
Formerly known as Best for Vets, the survey is compiled by Military Times, an independent military news outlet. Institutions of higher education across the United States participate by completing a rigorous survey of nearly 150 questions about campus services that support current and former military members and their families.
Only 137 of the 500 participating universities made the final rankings.
“Military Times’ Best for Vets designation is trusted throughout the veteran community as the mark of excellence for schools and other organizations that work with veterans, service members and military families,” said George Altman, Military Times editor. “It can’t be bought with advertising dollars and is only earned through a record of steadfast service and dedication to those who have served.”
The surveys are combined with information provided by veterans, data from federal veteran affairs and defense departments, and education department details to formulate the annual Military Times rankings. Learn more about the methodology behind the rankings.
Prior to Nebraska’s No. 24 ranking in 2017, the university was No. 102. That surge in the Military Times’ ranking was aided by the opening of the university’s Military and Veteran Success Center. The center offers a range of student veteran support services — from quiet study spaces and computer access to one-on-one counseling and assistance with military benefits. It is designed to help student veterans and dependents with the transition to college life while building toward academic success.
Along with Brownell, the center is staffed by Deb Quinn, veterans affairs coordinator for the university; Thomas Allison senior career and veteran service adviser; William Noundou graduate assistant; and work study students Marlana Stephens, Ariah Jamison, Jayden Jansen and Casey Markvicka.
Brownell, a Nebraska alumnus, is the second director of Nebraska’s Military and Veteran Success Center. He started in the role on Aug. 20.
“I am excited for this opportunity to serve the university, empower students and help transform the futures of our veterans, active-duty military students and military dependents,” Brownell said.
He served as an executive officer in the U.S. Air Force and brings 28 years of strategic and organizational leadership experience. He previously worked as deputy chair of the strategic leadership department at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.
Key Military and Veteran Success Center initiatives that helped the university achieve three-straight top 30 Military Times rankings include:
establishing campus partnerships with Academic Affairs, Admissions, student advisers, faculty, ROTC programs, and the Student Veterans Organization;
making space available to allow weekly “office hours” with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs representatives and multiple campus organizations
collaborating with National Guard units and local support organizations in Lincoln and Lancaster County; and
offering career presentations led by local, state and national employers.