Western Nebraska Community College has been named a ‘Best for Vets’ college for the ninth straight year according to Military Times magazine.
WNCC was one of the top 33 two-year institutions chosen to the 2019 list based on a 150-question survey that hundreds of colleges and institutions completed. The survey was used to rank colleges in university culture, academic quality and outcomes, policies, student support, and costs and financial aid in regards to military and veterans services. Military Times also factored in data from Veterans Affairs and Defense departments, IPEDS Data Center, College Scorecard data, and the Cohort Default Rate Database.
In general, WNCC was voted as one of the best colleges in the country for military students in 2019.
“To be named as one of the top institutions for military veterans is quite an honor,” said WNCC Military and Veterans Affairs Director Chris Wolf. “I’m very proud of the work being done for our veterans and their families at the College, so to be named to this list for a ninth consecutive year really validates the commitment and effort made toward being a military friendly institution.”
The WNCC Military and Veterans Affairs Office serves as a certification site for Veterans Administration education benefits, and handles assistance with benefits applications, academic advising, college curriculum, and any additional information on veteran services in the region. The Office also hosts the TRIO Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) program, which provides further resources for veterans and their families.
WNCC, which served nearly 60 veterans in the last academic year, received high marks in GI Bill gap coverage, student-to-faculty ratio, and military graduation rate.
“They just make everything really easy here,” said Casey Eitler, an army veteran studying information technology at WNCC. “They take care of anything and everything as far as paperwork that needs to be filed to the VA or any of that stuff. They take care of pretty much everything out of here.”
“I didn’t know I was eligible for the Post 9/11 GI bill; I thought I had been out of the army too long,” said Lori Moreno, a 20-year army vet studying elementary education. “But Chris (Wolf) and (WNCC Veterans and Military Affairs Adviser) Mike (Millikin) showed me how to access it and where to apply online. Once that process went through, I was able to get my paper certification and they were able to help me find the classes I needed.”
Beyond the services provided within WNCC’s Military and Veterans Affairs Office, Wolf and Millikin regularly host gatherings for veterans to network, and have oftentimes provided housing accommodations for those veterans in need. According to Military Times, university culture was weighed most heavily in the ranking methodology.
“Everyone who is in here has either served or had family members that served, so we all have these interests and goals,” Eitler said. “So we’re a tight-knit family in here, really.”