Several University of Nebraska programs available through the University of Nebraska Online Worldwide website earned top rankings in the latest U.S. News & World Report list of the nation’s best online programs for veterans. The 2015 rankings, issued this spring, cover both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at regionally accredited institutions and evaluate programs based on factors like financial aid for people with a military background, affordability, faculty credentials, student services and reputation. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska at Kearney all are represented in the new U.S. News rankings.
UNL’s online graduate programs in education led NU’s representation in the rankings, coming in at No. 5. Additionally, the UNL College of Business Administration’s online MBA ranked No. 18, UNL’s online graduate engineering programs ranked No. 29 and its online bachelor’s program ranked No. 35.
UNO’s online bachelor’s degree programs also ranked among the top 10 percent. UNO is recognized by Military Times magazine as the nation’s top four-year institution for veterans.
UNK’s online graduate programs in education, previously unranked, came in at No. 20.
Mary Niemiec, director of University of Nebraska Online Worldwide and associate vice president of distance education, noted that distance learning is an especially important strategy for meeting the educational needs of veterans and active-duty service members who balance demanding schedules. Flexible, high-quality online programs provide military learners with valuable skills that will serve them in both their military service and as they transition to civilian work, Niemiec said.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, about 55,000 veterans in Nebraska – more than one-third of the state’s total veteran population – have either earned an associate’s degree or completed some college but not earned a degree. Niemiec said veterans provide an important supply line for meeting workforce needs in Nebraska, and continuing to ensure that military learners have access to affordable, high-quality education would advance a widely shared goal in Nebraska to increase educational attainment in order to meet economic demands of the future.
“Our nation’s veterans have made many sacrifices. Those seeking to fulfill their academic goals should have every resource they need to do so,” Niemiec said. “We are proud that so many of our programs have been recognized for what they do to provide resources that servicemen and women need to be successful. We remain committed to this effort.”
All four NU campuses participate fully in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides tuition and fee support for veterans attending public institutions. The campuses also have flexible deployment policies to ensure that students’ educational progress is not impacted by military deployment, and they offer specialized support services or advisors for veterans. For example, UNO’s deployment coordinator assists veterans before, during and after deployment. The campus also has a VA employee on-site to assist with veterans affairs benefits.
UNL maintains a mentoring program for military transfer students and awards one credit hour for every three months of active-duty service. UNL recently announced a new Student Veterans Resource Center to be in place this fall that will support student veterans’ transition to academic life and provide relevant services aimed at improving veterans’ integration and success on campus and retention and graduation rates. Services will include academic support, recruiting and admissions counseling, mentoring and orientation, career placement, and expanded opportunities for communication and networking.
The University of Nebraska’s four campuses offer more than 100 degree, certificate and endorsement programs in a wide range of fields. For more information on the online options and services available to military learners, visit http://online.nebraska.edu/mission.