Virginia Tech has been named a 2023 Best for Vets college in the Military Times’ newly released annual rankings of schools for military service members and veterans.

The university climbed 18 places to rank 69th out of 325 schools. Among primarily in-person institutions it placed 60th. 

“To be part of the Best for Vets: Colleges list means we can be part of veterans’ decision-making about their second career after the military,” said Jana Moser Moore, director of the Office of Veteran Services. “It makes Virginia Tech feel like a possibility for them.”

Military Times rankings are determined largely by metrics of student success for veterans, including GPA, retention, and graduation rates, along with factors such as the availability of military-specific resources and financial assistance. And for the estimated 650 veterans currently enrolled as undergraduate or graduate students, Virginia Tech’s support system just for them can be a lifeline. They include

  • Welcome sessions from the Office of Veteran Services about navigating veteran education benefits and campus support services
  • The VeTZone, a dedicated lounge in the Johnston Student Center for veterans and military-affiliated students
  • Social events, including a military appreciation football game tailgate and a semester kick-off with the Veterans@VT student group
  • Assistance connecting with employment opportunities, Veterans Administration health care, and the Virginia Department of Veteran Services
  • Opportunities for scholarships from the Austin Excellence Fund for Veterans and the Matt and Kelsey Quillen for Veterans Scholarship
  • Special acknowledgment at graduation with a military stole and cord, presented at the annual Veteran Achievement Ceremony

Seth Bagbey, a senior majoring in wildlife conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, found that connecting with fellow veterans through the Office of Veteran Services was key in easing his transition to student life after four years in the Marine Corps. “Going to Veteran Services made me feel the most welcome here,” he said. “You're with other veterans who just say, ‘Hey, what do you need?’”

Next year, the Office of Veteran Services hopes to expand that circle of welcoming spaces with the launch of Green Zone training. Faculty and staff who complete the online training about the unique challenges and needs of student veterans can post a Green Zone badge on their door to identify themselves as allies and advocates.

“Virginia Tech recognizes student veterans as an underrepresented population, and this is one way we can reach out to them in terms of services and support,” said Moser Moore.

Virginia Tech’s rising spot on the the Best for Vets: Colleges list is an expression of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), said Rachel Holloway, vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs. “We want to ensure that our veterans, whether undergraduate, graduate, or professional students, are connected to the resources and opportunities to maximize their Virginia Tech experience. That’s one way we recognize the service and contributions of veterans to our community, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the nation.” 

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