(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Missouri Western State University is one of just three public universities in the state to be designated a Military Friendly School by Victory Media and the only school to receive a GOld Level Award.
“There is a continuum across the country of how universities respond to the needs of active-duty military and veterans,” said Dr. Gordon Mapley, dean of the Western Institute. “My goal is to move Missouri Western to the top end of that continuum and be as proactive and helpful as we can be in providing pathways and services that will help veterans and active-duty military earn college degrees.”
Now in its 16th year, the Military Friendly Schools list provides a comprehensive guide for veterans and their families using data sources from federal agencies, veteran students and survey information from participating organizations. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence (degree advancement or transfer) and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.
Victory Media identified the Top 10 schools in each of ten categories based on a numerical score. As a Gold Award winner, Missouri Western scored within 20 percent of the 10th-ranked school in the small public university category. Missouri Western was one of three Missouri small public universities to receive Military Friendly designation, and the only one to receive a Gold Award.
Missouri Western has recently undertaken several initiatives to better serve military members and their families:
Veterans and active duty military may now use coursework from their military transcripts as the base of a Bachelor of Science in Technology degree. To enter this degree program, individuals must have at least 30 hours of applied coursework, which may consist of military training or a combination of military training and other accredited applied coursework.
The University recently became a part of the General Education Mobile Program (GEM) with the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF). That partnership means members of the Air Force can take general education courses online through Missouri Western to earn their Associate in Applied Science degree from the CCAF.
This past fall, the University offered a communication class on site to airmen at the 139th Airlift Wing at Rosecrans in St. Joseph. The course, Dr. Mapley says, is the first of several planned to be held on the base.
Missouri Western is also working with Fort Leavenworth on possible partnership programs, and is developing more online bachelor’s degrees, which work well for military personnel.
Over the past year, Mary Marston of the Western Institute met with several offices across campus in an effort to streamline the University’s services and processes for veterans and members of the military. She formed a Military Friendly Committee on campus and developed a comprehensive website to centralize information about services and resources for active military and veteran students, edu/military. She is also working with several community groups, including the Community Veterans Engagement, which serves Platte and Buchanan counties in Missouri and Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties in Kansas.
The Military Friendly Schools list will be published in the December issue of G.I. Jobs magazine and can be found online at militaryfriendly.com.