September 25, 2016

Webster named ‘best for Veterans’

Webster’s School of Business and Technology was listed in the “Best for Vets: Business Schools” survey for top private institutions for graduate programs among four-year business schools.

The university has ranked on the list every year since the “Best for Vets” program was established in 2013.

The Military Times is the largest arm of a media group that publishes four other military-affiliated publications. Each magazine focuses on a branch of military service – Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

“Best for Vets” is a supplement to each magazine and is aimed at the service member who is transitioning back into civilian life.

There were 77 schools out of more than 3,000 in the U.S. that made the list. Webster ranked 38 on the list. The 33 schools who ranked higher were state institutions.

Cpt. Sean Coleman, USN (Ret.), Associate Vice President and Regional Director for Webster military campuses said veterans come to Webster because of the university’s reputation among the military establishment.

“We were the fifth out of all private schools in the nation. And that’s something to be very proud of,” Coleman said. “Add that to our prices and the number of on-base programs and we hope to have something our military students can tell their friends about.”

The Times publishes several unique “Best for Vets” surveys. But only the business school survey is tied to a separate, larger survey of colleges and universities.

The magazine finishes collecting the surveys in August. By November, the results for “best colleges” are published. Next, the Times sends out the business school survey.

Webster has ranked four times in the “best colleges” category. Miltary Times reporter George Altman has been doing the rankings for more than three years.

He takes relevant questions from the general survey, such as ‘Does your college have a veterans center?’ and plugs them into the business school survey to help generate the rankings business programs.

“About 100 questions out of 150 are considered for the ‘Best Colleges’ survey,” Altman said.

The information to complete the business school rankings comes from three sources: the business school surveys themselves, the college survey and public data.

“We have ‘Best for Vets’ rankings for colleges and business schools, employers, spouses of veterans and the best places for veterans to live,” Altman said.

Additional data comes from the U.S. Department of Education through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The database provides vital statistics on college retention and graduation rates.

Also, loan default rates and the new College Scorecard – a 2013 Obama Administration initiative launched to provide easy-to-find information on college costs – add to the search criteria researchers use to generate the rankings.

Altman said the scorecard was an initial attempt to nationally rank colleges at the federal level, but backlash from college administrators prompted the administration to just gather the data and let other organizations – like the The Military Times – develop rankings aimed at specific groups, like military-affiliated students.

“Most schools tend to view the veteran student as a value added to the school itself. Most are in their mid-20s and, in many cases, have a family to be responsible for, or have managed multi-million dollar equipment,” Altman said.

When someone leaves the military, Altman says a veteran will be on 1 of 3 tracks: educational, employment or entrepreneurial.

Coleman said the results of rankings like “Best for Vets” help drive military-affiliated enrollments in the right direction.

“The goal is to continue to encourage them to come to the university after their initial interest,” said Brig. Gen. Mike Callan, USAF (Ret.), Webster’s special assistant to the provost for military affairs.

The university employs a system developed by Ellucian called Recruiter© which allows Callan’s office to track inquiries from military-affiliated prospects.

“I think this is another source for veterans to determine Webster ranks in terms of its business program. We’d have to get with them on a case-by-case basis to see, in fact, if it is the result of publishing the rankings. But nonetheless, the rankings are very significant to us,” Callan said.

Webster’s military programs have also been ranked by U.S. News & World Report, G.I. Jobs Magazine and Military Advanced Education Magazine.

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