CHRIS DROUKAS / THE EAGLE
G.I. Jobs magazine ranked AU a 2012 “Military Friendly School” for the second straight year.
The ranking includes about 1,000 schools, or the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools across the country that have financial and nonfinancial efforts to recruit and retain military or veteran students.
Ranking criteria ranges from university policies to how much military personnel a school recruits to financial assistance for military students, according to the magazine’s website.
AU provides assistance for students in the Yellow Ribbon program, which provides financial assistance to student veterans.
George Washington University was the only other D.C. school on the list.
AU has 87 veteran students and a 79 percent graduation rate for veterans, according to G.I. Jobs.
Associate Director of AU Central Valerie Verra said she was pleased by the University’s ranking.
“I’m sure that AU’s administration is military-friendly,” Verra said. “I don’t know that they have had to keep military in mind when they have made decisions in the past.”
She said the administrational focus increases when the size of military populations on campus increases due to current events.
“I know how dedicated Campus Life is to addressing issues that may be particular to [the] military,” Verra said.
She added that a peer-to-peer mentoring program for veterans may be a useful resource on campus and is confident that University groups will help with its development.
AU ROTC says ranking deserved
Michael Krant, the platoon tactical officer for ROTC, also felt the ranking was well deserved.
Krant said the efforts of Student Government helped ROTC function on campus. SG helped ROTC gain access to University resources, such as classrooms for cadet training, last year.
Marleigh Ragni, a sophomore in the School of International Service and a member of the Naval Reserves, said the rating pleasantly surprised her.
“I think it’s good because it also gives people a perspective on things,” Ragni said, explaining the rating will help break military stereotypes.
Krant said the rating would boost relations between the AU community and the military.
“We hope to continue that really positive relationship,” he said.
Veterans views on the ranking
AU Vets President John Kamin said he welcomes the rating, but that more could be done for veterans on campus.
“There’s even more stuff we can be doing,” he said, noting that AU Vets is currently providing services to student veterans that he feels should be provided by the University, such as helping veterans navigate the Career Center.
AU Vets Communications Chair Patricia Leslie said the organization would like to see an official Veteran Resource Center on campus. She said it would make the transition from “combat to campus” easier for many veterans.
“I think AU prides itself on diversity, and people are realizing that having veterans on your campus just adds to that diversity, and that they are really an asset,” Leslie said.