Mason Earns Prominence on ‘Best Colleges for Veterans’ List

Posted: November 22, 2013 at 5:01 am, Last Updated: November 25, 2013 at 6:59 am

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By Preston Williams

student veterans

Student veterans Walter R. Sweeney, second from left, and Jacobo Flores, third from left, participated with VFW members during Mason’s 9/11 Day of Service. Photo by Will Martinez

U.S. News & World Report has saluted George Mason University with a prominent spot in its inaugural “Best Colleges for Veterans” rankings.

George Mason ranked 28th in the national universities category and was the top-ranked Virginia school in that group. Mason has about 2,300 military-related students, including veterans, active duty members, reservists, guardsmen and dependents.

The rankings, released on Veterans Day, rate schools that offer federal benefits, including tuition and housing assistance, to active service members and veterans. To be eligible, the colleges had to be certified for the GI Bill, participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program that assists veterans with their education and be a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Consortium.

The 234 schools ranked in various classifications also had to score well in graduation rates, faculty resources and other qualities.

“We are so proud that George Mason is rightfully recognized as one of the best universities in the country for our service members,” President Ángel Cabrera says. “We admire their service to our country and appreciate their hard-earned skills. Mason provides a welcoming faculty and staff that appreciate their sacrifices, can ease their transition to student life and help them launch new and successful careers.”

Economics major Walter Sweeney, transition coordinator in the Office of Military Services and president of the Veterans Society of George Mason University, is a former Marine who is learning firsthand why Mason has achieved such a high national ranking.

“When I applied in 2011, I had heard through the rumor mill that Mason was a good school for veterans,” Sweeney says, “and since I’ve been here, I think that reputation has become a known fact. It’s really an effort of several groups working together to accomplish that end through many different resources and avenues. They facilitate a smooth and easy process with the academic, professional and social transition.”

The Office of Military Services, a comprehensive campus resource center, aids that boots-to-books transition.

“We are an office staffed by veterans committed to providing tailored support services that assist veterans in defining a pathway to success and making it their own,” says Jennifer Connors, the university’s director of military services.

Write to Robin Herron at rherron@gmu.edu

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