It's no military secret: Central Michigan University is No. 1 in the state for serving U.S. armed forces veterans.
In its 2021 Best for Vets survey of 366 schools, the independent magazine Military Times ranked CMU best in Michigan based on costs, programs, policies and services that impact military-connected students. The magazine also weighs federal data from the U.S. Departments of Education, Veterans Affairs and Defense.
CMU's ranking was not only the best in Michigan but also No. 2 in the Midwest and No. 8 in the country.
"I'm very proud that CMU has been recognized for its decadeslong dedication to the military-affiliated student," said Duane Kleinhardt, director of CMU's Veterans' Resource Center. "This ranking shows that CMU is doing all the right things to serve these students and their families."
Kleinhardt said in the past year, CMU has enlarged its team serving military-affiliated students — and that everyone working in the VRC is a veteran who has utilized military benefits to earn their education. It's a customer service focus on veterans and military members that sets CMU apart, he said.
"In the military, the first job of the senior noncommissioned officer is to take care of the troops," he said. "Since I retired from the Army as a senior NCO, that is the perspective that we take here in the Veterans' Resource Center: We are here to take care of the troops."
That care includes a reduced military tuition rate for active-duty military, reservists, guard members, spouses and qualified dependents. Veterans' tuition is covered under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
CMU's Military Transfer Credit program offers college credit to students who have completed certain military education programs, and Prior Learning Credits are available based on life and work experience.
The Military Spouse Career Advancement Account Scholarship program provides up to $4,000 for career development.
Other veteran services include counseling and processing for VA/Department of Defense benefits and financial aid, priority registration, social events for veterans and military families, military-related service projects and help for physically disabled veterans.
A strong alliance
Veterans, active-duty military personnel and reservists have been an important part of CMU for decades. Currently, veterans make up about 6% of CMU's student body, whether in Mount Pleasant or at one of CMU's 30-plus Global Campus centers across the U.S., including more than 15 on military bases or installations. Nearly one-quarter of CMU's veteran students take classes online.
"Our university is proud to continue the long-standing commitment to these very deserving military men and women," Kleinhardt said.