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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Magazine Cites ODU as One of the Nation’s Top Veteran-Friendly Universities

By Joe Garvey

U.S. Veterans Magazine has named Old Dominion University one of the top veteran-friendly universities in the nation. The magazine polled hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies for this year's Best of the Best evaluations.

The College of William & Mary, the University of Virginia and East Carolina University also made the list.

The annual review is an evaluation of the nation's employers, initiatives, government agencies and educational institutions.

This is just ODU's latest accolade from a military publication. The school is ranked the top "Best for Vets" school in Virginia by Military Times and has been named a "Military Friendly School" eight years in a row by G.I. Jobs Magazine.

"We've always been very supportive of our veteran and military community, and military-affiliated for that matter," said Robert E. Clark, director, military activities liaison and special projects.

He cited a number of examples. Among the most significant: This fall, the undergraduate tuition rate for active-duty members was reduced to $250 per credit hour, which matches what is paid by the military. That means those students will pay only small associated fees. "ODU is the first state university to do that," Clark said.

The tuition reduction is already having an impact. Deborah L. Swiecinski, associate vice president for financial services, said that as of Aug. 29, the credit hour enrollment rate had increased by 7.8 percent compared with the same time a year ago. She added that students will continue to enroll over the next few weeks.

Some other ways ODU is military-friendly:

  • ODU's designation as a member of the Virginia Training and Education Alliance, which means it has a strong Student Veterans Association and provides priority registration and a gathering place for veterans, among other amenities.
  • The Military Connection Center, "where they can answer your questions and steer you to different offices you might have to go to, whether that's admissions, the registrar or any of our schools," Clark said. "That's really the home base."
  • A Military to ODU Transition Program, which provides new students with information about available resources.
  • A Veterans Administration work-study program, along with a career center to help graduates find jobs.
  • Participation in the Wounded Warrior program in which veterans act as honorary captains at each home football game.

"We've really expanded our offerings to our veteran population, to our military-affiliated population, to really let them know we care about them," Clark said. "They're not your typical student. They're largely commuters, largely people with families, and they have jobs."

About 25 percent of ODU students are military-affiliated. Clark would like to see that percentage increase, helped by the tuition reduction.

"This isn't just about numbers," he added. "It's about making sure our military members are getting a good, quality education, one that they can take with them and use anywhere."

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