Media Contact: Joanna Norris, DirectorDepartment of Public Relations(904) 620-2102
For the eighth consecutive year, the University of North Florida has been designated as one of the most military friendly schools in the country by Victory Media, the leader in connecting the military and civilian worlds. The 2017 Military Friendly Schools list honors the top colleges, universities, community colleges and trade schools nationwide that are doing the most to embrace America’s military students and to dedicate resources to ensure their success both in the classroom and after graduation.“Our ability to apply a clear, consistent standard to the majority of colleges gives veterans a comprehensive view of which schools are striving to provide the best opportunities and conditions for our nation’s student veterans,” says Daniel Nichols, a Navy Reserve veteran and chief product officer at Victory Media. “Military Friendly helps military families make the best use of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other federal benefits while allowing us to further our goal of assisting them in finding success in their chosen career fieThe list of Military Friendly® Schools and Military Friendly® Schools ratings are assessed through the evaluation of both public data about the institution and proprietary data gathered through the free Military Friendly® Schools survey. The annual, data-driven Military Friendly® Schools survey assessment is offered at no cost to more than 8,800 institutions nationwide.Each year, schools taking the survey are held to a higher standard than in previous years via improved methodology, criteria and weightings developed with the assistance of an independent research firm and Victory Media’s Advisory Council.Survey responses are weighted according to the categories below. Final survey results and ratings are determined by combining an institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet minimum thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans. The benchmark is set by the score of the leading institution.Institutions competed for the elite Military Friendly® School title by completing a survey of over 100 questions covering 10 categories, including campus military support, graduation/employment outcomes and military spouse policies. Survey responses were scored against benchmarks across these key indicators of success. In addition, data was independently tested by Ernst & Young based upon the weightings and methodology established by Victory Media with guidance from an independent advisory board of higher education and recruiting professionals.“The Military and Veterans Resource Center is extremely proud of our eighth consecutive year of receiving a military-friendly school designation—among the top in the nation and one for each and every year of our existence,” said Ray Wikstrom, UNF MVRC director. “It’s a culmination of many dedicated staff hours to ensure UNF Osprey veterans receive the very best services, resources and special programming to assist them in their transition from combat to the classroom to meaningful employment.” UNF’s veteran population using the Post-9/11 GI Bill has grown at an average of 9 percent per year for the last five years and now numbers more than 1,300 student veterans or their family dependents—with 1 one of every 14 students at the University being a veteran. UNF has 61 active duty, 599 veteran students and 630 military dependents. In 2009, UNF established a Task Force and received a grant for more than $200,000 from the Florida BrAIve Fund at The Community Foundation in Jacksonville, which allowed the University to establish the MVRC on campus. With renovated spaces, the Center opened its doors in August 2010. Additionally, UNF started offering the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corp, an educational program of leadership and military skills training, on campus in 2009. The UNF program, called “The Fighting Osprey Company,” gives students a chance to get Army training while in college.The MVRC’s mission is to provide a broad range of student services and resources focused on the unique needs of today’s military veterans, service members and their families in order to enhance their smooth transition from the military environment to campus life, leading to academic success, graduation and employment opportunities. The Military Friendly® Schools designation process includes extensive research and a data-driven survey of thousands of schools nationwide approved for Post-9/11 GI Bill funding. The school survey, methodology, criteria and weightings are developed with the assistance of an independent advisory board comprised of educators and HR, diversity and recruitment professionals from schools across the country. The survey is administered for free and open to all post-secondary schools who wish to participate.The Military Friendly Schools website, found at www.militaryfriendly.com, features the entire list, interactive tools and search functionality to help military students find the best school to suit their unique needs and preferences.UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.
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