Once again, Georgia Highlands College has been recognized for the support it offers to its military-affiliated students.
For the fifth consecutive year — and the sixth year out of the last seven — the college has been awarded the Top School designation by Military Advanced Education & Transition in its 2018 Guide to Colleges & Universities, which measures the best practices in military and veteran education.
The guide, available at www.mae-kmi.com or in the December issue of MAE&T, presents results of a questionnaire of the military-supportive policies enacted at hundreds of private, public, for-profit, not-for-profit, four-year and two-year institutions.
It also arms military-affiliated students with information about Top Schools in the post-secondary arena, everything from community colleges and state universities to online institutions and nationally known centers of higher learning.
“It’s wonderful to be recognized [for the fifth straight year],” said Veterans Affairs Coordinator Amy Wise, who was notified about the honor in November. “We are always thrilled to learn that GHC has been selected as a Top School. Georgia Highlands works very hard to serve our active duty, veterans and military families. To be recognized for those efforts is always a compliment.”
To be considered a Top School, colleges must meet a certain threshold of military-supportive actions, as identified by MAE&T staff, such as a veterans center, a dedicated veterans counselor and financial incentives for military-affiliated students.
This year, institutions were evaluated on financial aid, flexibility, general support, military culture, on-campus support and online support services.
“There are many different variables by which you could evaluate an institution, but we focus on the best practices that have been asserted by various higher education groups and reinforced by veteran groups,” MAE&T Editor-in-Chief Kelly G. Fodel said in a press release. “These best practices assure students that they have a high chance of success and support at their school of choice. That’s why we consider our survey to be the most detailed and informative in the industry.”
Georgia Highlands, which has been recognized in the 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 editions, strives to serve its students while also having an “impact on the veterans and military families in our communities,” Wise said.
“It is our privilege to create an environment that promotes student success and provides assistance with the transition from military to college to the brave men and women that have served in our military,” she said.
To accomplish that goal, the college offers a variety of services for its military students.
“GHC and the Student Veterans of America Club maintain a textbook-lending library for veterans and military family members to help cut costs of out-of-pocket expenses,” Wise said. “GHC participated in a canned-food drive for the American Legion Post 52 during the holidays. GHC invites the Marietta Vet Center to set up on campus at least once per year. The Marietta Vet Center serves war veterans by providing readjustment counseling, family counseling, bereavement counseling, substance-abuse assessment, employment referrals and much more. GHC also has a Veterans Resource Center at four of our six locations. This dedicated space serves as a multi-use space for veterans, prospective military students and VA work-study students.”
Wise also said the college plans several events every year to spotlight its veteran and military students. For example, last Veterans Day, the GHC softball team organized a military appreciation game that was featured on the U.S. Navy’s website and social-media pages.
And each spring, GHC co-hosts a Military Family Fun Day with the Georgia Army National Guard Family Assistance Program.
The free event, scheduled for April at the Parris Lake Pavilion on GHC’s Floyd campus, is open to all military families in the community, she added.
For fall semester 2017, GHC certified 114 students for VA education benefits at its five campuses, with 46 of those students studying at the Cartersville site, Wise said.
“Of course, that does not include the veteran count for those students who are not currently using the GI Bill,” she said.