CTC among Best for Vets colleges for sixth straight year

CTC among Best for Vets colleges for sixth straight year

by Bruce Vasbinder
Central Texas College

For the sixth consecutive year, Central Texas College (CTC) was named to the Military Times list of best colleges for military veterans. In the recently released Best for Vets: Colleges 2016 rankings, CTC was third again this year in the category of online and non-traditional schools.  The selection was based on the primary criteria of academic accreditation, whether the school has a central veterans’ office and staff knowledge on veterans’ issues. In addition Military Times factored in veteran and military students’ success rates.

The survey-based Best for Vets: Colleges requires schools to meticulously document a tremendous array of services, special rules, accommodations and financial incentives offered to military and veteran students and to describe many aspects of veteran culture on a campus. “Military Times uses a 120-question survey to evaluate schools and factor in detailed school-by-school data on veteran students’ academic success anywhere, including graduation, retention, persistence and course completion rates,” said Bruce Vasbinder, coordinator – CTC Community Relations. “It also pulled data from the Veterans Affairs Department, Defense Department and three Education Department databases for information on everything from veteran-related policies to average salaries after graduation.”

At the time of the survey in spring 2015, CTC reported a military enrollment of 24,153 which represents an unduplicated 12-month headcount for the 2014-15 academic year. CTC also reported a 79 percent course completion rate and graduation/transfer rate of nine percent.

Several hundred schools participated in this year's survey, filling out a detailed questionnaire with more than100 questions delving into the issues most crucial to student vets. CTC was cited for its cost - CTC’s credit-per-hour rate is below the established tuition assistance cap of $250; and being under the G.I. Bill cap - full out-of-state tuition for all programs is lower than the nationwide cap of $17,500 per school year.

CTC was also recognized for being a Yellow Ribbon school, having a central office designated for handling veterans’ issues, accepting ACE credits, granting some credits for military training recommended by the American Council on Education and for its staff and academic support.

In addition, CTC is an original partner in the College Credit for Heroes program which offers college credit to military veterans for their military training and experience. CTC was also named the first Purple Heart College in Texas earlier this year. In 2013, CTC was designated a Yellow Ribbon School  - a program designed to help students avoid paying out-of-pocket for tuition and fees associated with education programs by allowing approved institutions of higher learning and the VA to partially or fully fund tuition and fee expenses that exceed the established thresholds under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Two years ago, CTC opened a VetSuccess Center on its central campus as part of the Department of Veterans Administration’s Vet Success on Campus program.

Best for Vets provides servicemen and women a gauge by which to judge whether a school or degree program will truly benefit them. The rankings factored in service member enrollment, percentage of tuition covered by the GI Bill and availability of specific programs to help service members. The extensive evaluation process also factored in statistics commonly used to track student success and academic quality, including student loan default rates, retention rates, graduation rates and student-faculty ratio.

The full Best for Vets: Colleges 2016 rankings can be found at www.militarytimes.com/bestforvets-colleges2016.

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