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Arkansas State selected 10th among best universities for military veterans

October 6, 2010 -- Arkansas State University has reached another special milestone with its selection as the 10th best higher educational institution in the United States for military veterans by Military Times EDGE magazine late last week.  ASU ranks 10th among all colleges and universities and is the only university listed in the state of Arkansas.

“As a veteran (U.S. Army, 1971-73), I am absolutely thrilled that ASU has received this special recognition,” said Dr. Dan Howard, Interim Chancellor at ASU. “I applaud individuals on our campus who have contributed to this ranking by treating our veterans especially well. All of us owe a special debt of gratitude to service members who place themselves in harm’s way and to veterans who have done this previously so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we could not have otherwise.”

This marks the second time this fall that ASU has been chosen as an eminent university. Arkansas State was named as tier 1 southern regional university in “America’s Best Colleges” by the editors of U.S. News and World Report in August.

ASU’s selection as the 10th best higher educational institution in the nation by Military Times EDGE is the first ranking by the publication which is an extension of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Times magazines. Military Times EDGE asked over 4,000 colleges and universities to submit information in four categories about veterans’ programs, policies and resources at the respective universities.

The categories include financial assistance, academic flexibility, campus culture and support services. Rating is based on number of stars assigned to each category, with five being the maximum. Arkansas State received five stars for support services, four stars for financial assistance and academic flexibility, while receiving three for campus culture. Arkansas State is one of only three on the list of 100 receive a top five star rating for support services along with the University of Arizona (17th) and San Diego State University (30th). To view the 100 top colleges for veterans, access the list at

Financial assistance includes scholarships, discounts and waivers specifically for veterans and their dependents, Yellow Ribbon program and relaxed residence restrictions for in-state tuition. Academic flexibility means participation in the Service Members’ Opportunity Colleges consortium and Degree Network Systems and acceptance of military learning and subject tests, like the College Level Examination Program, for academic credit. Flexibility also includes school policies on military-related withdrawal. These procedures are handled by ASU’s veteran’s services representative Kathy Mathes in ASU’s Registrar’s Office.

Mathes says she “absolutely loves working with the veterans.” ASU currently has 401 veterans and their dependents using veterans’ benefits.   “We try to find as many benefits as we can for our students,” she said.  There are over a half-dozen different programs that help veterans with anything from a stipend for books and fees to financial assistance with housing.”

Campus culture involves the percentage of veterans in the student body and faculty, ROTC programs, Veterans Day observance, local veteran’s organizations and training for faculty and staff in veterans’ issues. Support services encompasses the number and type of staff designated to work with veterans, efforts made to reach out to veterans, create a veterans’ community including mentorship programs, special orientation sessions, and academic support.

In addition to student services offered by Arkansas State University, military veterans attending ASU are drawn to the Beck PRIDE Center for America’s Wounded Veterans, a model program located within the school’s College of Nursing and Health Professions and headquartered in the Reynolds Center for Health Sciences. This center is named in honor of Charlotte and Buddy Beck for their philanthropic support and advocacy of the center. The non-profit program’s mission is to provide combat wounded veterans with first class educational programs and services at Arkansas State University.

Also, the Arkansas Army National Guard Armory on the ASU campus houses several military services, including the 875th Engineer Battalion. Recently, the U.S. Army ROTC program at ASU opened its doors to a newly constructed Living Learning Center, an on-campus housing facility for the Red Wolf Battalion ROTC cadets. ASU’s ROTC program is also an avenue for those currently serving in the National Guard or Reserves to earn their degree and enter the Army as an officer.  Professor of Military Science, Lt Colonel Jeffrey Helms, says that the Army’s Green-to-Gold program helps currently enlisted personnel return to school while continuing to serve.  Once they have obtained their four-year degree, they are commissioned as an Army Officer.

“ASU’s Beck PRIDE Center Veterans Program has rapidly transitioned and deployed from a concept in 2007 into 10th in the nation out of 100 colleges and universities based on Military Times EDGE ranking through its well-designed and comprehensive veterans and their families focused five star services program,” said Ret. Maj. Gen. Elder Granger, chair of the national Advisory Board for the Beck PRIDE Center for America’s Wounded Veterans. “Beck PRIDE program is a national example of how our country should continue to embrace and support the men and women of our uniformed services and their families with their higher education goals and aspirations.”

“Military Times’ staff informed us in early summer that Arkansas State University had been named to the list, but had not released an official ranking, so the announcement came as a wonderful surprise,” said Susan Tonymon, director of the Beck PRIDE Center for America’s Wounded Veterans. “This publication is highly respected among the U.S. Armed Services. It is indeed an honor to receive a top 10 ranking, and it further validates the outstanding commitment of the Buddy Beck family who donated the start-up funds for our program and ASU’s long history of service to all branches of the military.

“The center staff is thrilled for our supporting role in ASU receiving this outstanding ‘Best for Vets: Colleges 2010’ designation. We see our success through student-veterans’ successful rehabilitation, socialization and ability to acclimate to the classroom. Our goal is to eliminate the barriers wounded veterans face in pursuing higher education.”

These include, but are not limited to, resources to access to the higher education experience, resources for counseling, personal rehabilitation, advocacy, and financial assistance and support for these individuals to achieve their post military service goals. The Beck PRIDE Center is focused on rehabilitation, individual development and education (PRIDE). More information about the Beck PRIDE Center is available at

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