Kent State’s Center for Adult and Veteran Services Racks Up Another Award
After being named a Military Friendly® School for an unprecedented 12th consecutive time earlier this year, Kent State University’s Center for Adult and Veteran Services could have rested on its laurels.
Instead, the good times continue to roll, this time with Kent State landing a spot on the list of top schools for military-connected students according to the 2021 Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges.
For its Kent Campus, Kent State places at No. 158 out of 366 overall schools and No. 127 out of 254 public schools ranked on the 2021 list. Kent State is one of only 14 schools in Ohio to receive this recognition. The ranking is out of the more than 6,000 institutions globally, including universities, trade schools and technical schools.
To become eligible to make the list, institutions must turn in their applications by February. The results are released near the end of June once the information is combed through and analyzed.
Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges is the largest and most comprehensive ranking of schools for military service members and veterans, helping them make important decisions about their education. Military Times rankings are data-driven, taking a close and detailed look at the combination of retention numbers along with persistence and graduation rates.
Variables for the ranking include retention ratings from year to year, graduation rates and the number of veterans enrolled and served at the university.
The university’s Kent Campus made the list thanks to many factors, including the streamlining of work with the Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement to procure funds for emergency aid to parenting student veterans and service members along with emergency grants. Another feather in the cap was the Ohio War Orphans Scholarship availability, which pays 100% of tuition and is available to dependents of veterans with a service-connected disability.
According to Joshua Rider, executive director of the Center for Adult and Veteran Services at Kent State, typically, institutions of higher learning have the propensity to climb up the charts thanks to the various services and programs available. One, in particular, stands out in terms of efficient services.
“We have a centralized office where issues are not diffused,” Rider said. “If you want to get benefits done, you do not have to go down to Student Financial Aid and then come to our office for the academic advising or some of the pre-advising items; you can come to one location and get all of those services right from one spot, so I think that is [an area] where we stand out.”
Rider is also quick to point out that schools that have done exceptionally well exhibit critical components in their program. One of those pieces is a veteran social space or a lounge space solely dedicated to veterans.
Looking ahead, Rider is most excited about the new CARES Center coming into play, which will give veterans on campus another form of assistance should they require it. CARES is an acronym that stands for crisis, advocacy, resources, education and support, and the CARES Center is a space that supports students who have challenges with their basic needs, helping students who are experiencing food insecurity, homelessness, financial security and needs related to mental well-being. Rider hopes that the presence of the new CARES Center will translate into an even higher ranking in the years ahead.
“We are really excited to see how this works in conjunction with our CARES Center because we know there is food and housing insecurity out there in the community and, more specifically, the military-connected community,” he said. “We are all so excited about it, connecting the military-connected population. We have not had anything like that [a CARES Center], and it can only add to our standing and how we serve our military-connected community.”
Rider also credits Kent State’s Division of Student Affairs and its continued support and commitment to the Center for Adult and Veteran Services and its overall mission in helping veterans achieve academic success.
“Our leadership in the Division of Student Affairs has maintained a commitment from when we were in enrollment management in Student Affairs through the transition to being a much larger Division of Student Affairs than we have ever been, given our recent additions,” he said. “[Whether it be] providing graduate assistance to keeping us up to date on our veterans’ benefits and trends in serving our military-connected community, the division has maintained a firm commitment to this office.”
For more information about the 2021 Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges, visit https://colleges.militarytimes.com.
For more information about Kent State’s Center for Adult and Veteran Services, visit www.kent.edu/cavs.