A leading national publication for U.S. veterans today listed Garden City Community College as a Military Friendly College.
The announcement was made this morning by Sean Collins, director of G.I. Jobs Magazine, in releasing the online and print periodical’s 2013 Military Friendly Schools List.
“This list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s service members and veterans as students,” Collins said.
G.I. Jobs, part of Victory Media, Inc., is based in Corapolis, PA. The publication may be viewed online at www.gijobs.com.
Selection for the designation was competitive, and this is GCCC’s first time to be included. The list is being issued for the fourth consecutive year.
“You should take great pride in this honor, as it ranks your school in the top 15 percent of all colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide,” G.I. Jobs publisher Rich McCormack said in a letter to Dr. Herbert J. Swender, GCCC president. “The competition for our 2013 list was fierce, and as a result we raised the already-stringent criteria to a higher benchmark.”
“We accept this recognition with great pride, because it means that Garden City Community College is among the institutions of higher learning that recognize and accommodate the dedication and sacrifice that our American military veterans have made for this nation,” Swender said.
“We want to do everything we can to honor their service, and to provide them with the education they need to succeed and excel in civilian life,” Swender added, noting that GCCC counts veterans among the student body, faculty and staff.
McCormack urged GCCC and other schools on the 2013 list to bolster policies, efforts and results in recruiting and retaining students who have served in the U.S. armed forces. Selection was based on a series of criteria, as well as a survey of veterans.
“The Military Friendly Schools list is the go-to resource for prospective student veterans searching for schools that provide the greatest opportunity and overall experience,” said Michael Dakduk, executive director for Student Veterans of America. “Nothing is more compelling than actual feedback from current student veterans.”
More than 12,000 U.S. Veteran’s Administration-approved learning institutions were surveyed, with GCCC and 1,738 other schools making the list. Criteria ranged from availability of scholarships to services and support offered for veterans, as well as the number of full-time staff and additional factors.
Schools were chosen through a formula developed with help from an academic advisory board of approximately 14 educators at public and private colleges across the U.S.
“The college has been real helpful and real easy to get along with,” said Cory Rupp, an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who is now majoring in fire science at GCCC.
Rupp, a sergeant who served two tours of duty in Iraq before leaving the Marines, credited the college for accommodating his job schedule so he could attend classes, as well as working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help him obtain his benefits through the Montgomery GI Bill.
The student, who enrolled in the fall of 2011, is working toward his associate degree and a fire service career. He added that GCCC has been persistent in helping convert applicable military experience to college credit in a process that is still under way.
In most semesters, GCCC enrolls as many as 30 men and women using veteran’s benefits to attend the college, and Rupp is among 15 in classes right now.
Michael Jones, who enrolled this fall, is also among GCCC’s veteran students. He served as an E-4 in the U.S. Navy, with land-based and sea assignments that took him from Seattle, WA., and Pensacola, FL., to Italy and Japan between 2009 and early 2012.
“I’m majoring in business management, and GCCC has been very helpful to me,” said Jones, a New York City native currently commuting from Lakin. He credited the GCCC Registrar’s Office for helping him take advantage of military benefits to pay for his education.
Jones, whose service career followed the footsteps of his grandfather, a retired Navy chief petty officer, is studying to become a stock broker. He said his instructors have been extremely effective and accommodating.
G.I. Jobs, which gave GCCC the new designation, is a veteran-owned publication that offers information on salaries, career opportunities, resume development, employment interviews, education and other services.
In addition to the Military Friendly Schools List, G.I. Jobs also publishes an annual Military Friendly Employers List, Military Spouse Friendly Employers List and Best Corporations for Veteran-Owned Businesses List.
Veterans and others seeking assistance to attend the college should contact the Annie Stoppel in the Registrar’s Office at the GCCC Student and Community Services Center. Hours there are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Stoppel may be reached directly at 620-276-9605.