LEIDEN, Netherlands – Webster University was ranked one of the “2017 Top Military-friendly Online Colleges” by The Guide to Online Schools published last month by the educational consulting firm SR Education Group.
In order to be considered for inclusion, schools were required to offer at least 10 fully-online degrees as opposed to just online classes. There were 68 colleges in the U.S. that made the list. Webster scored 80.17 out of 100 possible points offering 18 bachelor’s and 43 master’s degrees solely online.
Capt. Sean Coleman, USN (Ret.), associate vice president and regional director for Webster military campuses, said the Online Learning Center, which provides support to online students, deserves the most credit when it comes to this specific online ranking.
“They are doing things that provide students with opportunities to take classes in the format they want, when they want. Whether you are former military or not,” Coleman said.
Webster-Leiden undergraduate Joseph Caouette is an Army veteran whose first college classes were online while deployed in Iraq. A section chief motivated him to consider school while on active duty.
“He gave me some time to start online courses during down time,” Caouette said. “It was really challenging because of the situation — I was in Baghdad at the time and still had obligations to take care of.”
After deployment, Caouette settled in The Netherlands and found a Webster undergraduate program in Leiden after asking the university to proctor an entrance exam for a stateside school.
The serviceman was going to attend a junior college in Florida online while in Europe.
“But being a veteran helped provide an opportunity to study at Webster,” Caouette said. “I think having a VA representative directly connected to the campus is the biggest thing for us.”
SR Educational Group agreed. Webster and the VA are partnered to keep a “Vet Success on Campus (VSOC)” counselor at the university. Webster is one of 94 schools nationwide to have a VSOC counselor on campus.
While SR Group does not currently have any on-base advertising or partnerships with the military, the firm said veterans and active personnel facilitate moving lists like these in addition to web-based research a student may do on their own.
“All these rankings matter,” Coleman said. “When students come to our military webpage and they see the rankings, it shows the university does what it says it does.”