Lewis makes the list: ‘2017 Top Military-Friendly Online Colleges’

Bree Scott, Co-News Editor

Photo courtesy of Guide to Online Schools

With data from 400 institutions surveyed by KMI Media Group, SR Education Group chose 70 institutions to make up the 2017 Top Military-Friendly Online Schools list.

For an institution to even be considered, it must offer at least 10 fully online degrees and score a minimum of 65 points out of 100. The list is unranked, but uses a point system in a comprehensive list of schools that met SR Education Group’s military-friendly criteria. Lewis University earned a total of 88.84 points. University of Maryland University College and Excelsior College tied for the highest military-friendly score of 98.31 points.

According to the Guide to Online Schools’ 2017 Military-Friendly Online Colleges Methodology, military-friendly criteria are based on four categories: military culture, online support, financial aid and flexibility.

Military culture “refers to the level of support offered to military students, the level of training faculty and staff receive on veteran reintegration and military culture, the type of events the school organizes to honor veterans and military students and the presence of a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program.” Online support is concerned with “a strong level of support to the institution’s online students, such as military-specific advisors, an online veterans center and online library and technical support services.”

The financial aid category is determined by the “significant amount of financial aid offered to active-duty service members, veterans, military spouses and dependents and whether the institution participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.” Finally, flexibility is “measured by assessing a college’s policies on course transfer, prior learning credit, leave and withdrawal and whether the institution allows their military students to withdraw from courses and return to school with no financial penalties,” according to the guide.

“Lewis scored highly in the four areas we evaluated, which allowed it to make the list,” said Taitum Ridgway, marketing manager of SR Education Group. “It’s also worth noting that Lewis is approved to participate in the Tuition Assistance program offered by the Department of Defense.”

The Tuition Assistance (TA) program provides financial assistance to eligible members of any branch of the military, though specific benefits differ with each branch.

KMI Media Group aims to provide “service members and veterans with the tools they need to make informed decisions about their education,” according to the Guide to Online Schools. SR Education Group’s goal “is to help prospective students find a degree program that matches their budget and career aspirations,” Ridgeway said. Both groups have done just that with their collaboration on the 2017 Top Military-Friendly Online Colleges.

The Lewis community should be thrilled with this accomplishment, but of course, there is always room for improvement to become an even more military-friendly university.

“If Lewis were to offer uncapped support to an unlimited number of students through the Yellow Ribbon Program, they would be considered for the Top Yellow Ribbon Online Schools ranking,” said Ridgway. “Additionally, a lower annual tuition rate would help them qualify for our Most Affordable Military-Friendly Online Colleges ranking.”

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