BOZEMAN — In recognition of its efforts to support student veterans, Montana State University has been named a Top Ten Military Friendly School by the website MilitaryFriendly.com, ranking ninth among similar-sized institutions nationwide.

The honor — the highest of MilitaryFriendly.com's rankings — comes after MSU won Gold ranking last year and Silver ranking in 2016. Now in its 20th year, the Military Friendly Schools list is considered the premier nationwide ranking that veterans and their families look to when considering higher education, according to Joseph Schumacher, director of MSU Veteran Services.

"This is recognition that MSU believes very strongly in serving veterans," Schumacher said. "When we help support our veteran students we're not only helping them succeed as students, but as people who have served our country and are learning to be civilians again. MSU is really well equipped for that."

MSU Veteran Services offers a veteran mentor program, a dedicated counselor for confidential counseling to veteran students, emergency transition services, free tutoring and advising, and the Veteran Support Center, a dedicated space on campus with trained staff to help veteran students. The Veteran Support Center is slated to move into a new space in Romney Hall, which will have more room to serve students, once renovation of Romney Hall is complete. Several of MSU's colleges also have academic advisers dedicated to veterans.

"We match veterans with resources and then watch them go to work," Schumacher said, noting that MSU’s strategic plan, "Choosing Promise," includes veterans in one of its top priorities of broadening access for underrepresented populations and increasing academic success for all students. "When they have the tools they need, they're successful."

The Military Friendly School ranking is based on a survey with more than 100 questions about military support services, student retention and graduation rates, student loans, job placement and more. MSU has 526 veteran students according to the university's fall 2020 headcount, up 15% from the previous year.

"Serving those who have served us is an integral part of MSU's land-grant mission," said MSU Vice President for Student Success Chris Kearns. "We are pleased to have this recognition and are dedicated to continuing to improve the student experience for our veterans."

- By MSU News Service -