It was a special year for UNO in 2014 with countless events, achievements, special guest visits and national recognitions for students, faculty, staff and alumni.
In November, UNO was named the nation's top four-year institution for veterans by Military Times. Just a year prior, UNO was named the nation's top public four-year institution for veterans.
Read on below for information about this ranking and free access to UNO's Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) Building for active duty service members.
"UNO Named No. 1 for Vets"
The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is the nation’s top four-year institution for veterans according to the 2015 “Best for Vets” rankings released today by the Military Times.
Representatives from more than 600 colleges and universities from across the country took part in the survey, which is designed, each year, to provide service men and women a gauge by which to judge whether a school or degree program will truly benefit them.
“This recognition from the Military Times is truly extraordinary for UNO and for the city of Omaha,” UNO Chancellor John Christensen said. “UNO’s role as Omaha’s premier metropolitan university now places Omaha as the nation’s premier place for veteran education.”
Over the past five years, UNO has improved its ranking, moving from being the top public university in last year’s rankings to the top overall university in 2015.
A full list of ranked universities can be found here: http://projects.militarytimes.com/jobs/best-for-vets/2015/colleges/4-year.
“We are incredibly honored to be selected by Military Times as the top college for veterans looking to complete a four-year degree program,” said Mike Connolly, director of UNO’s Office of Military and Veteran Services. “This ranking lets veteran and active duty men and women looking to earn a four-year education know that UNO is committed to their success.”
In improving its ranking, UNO earned four-star rankings for staff support, academic support, extracurricular opportunities and participation in the U.S. Yellow Ribbon program, which provides education funding for active duty and veteran military students.
“We factor in what is, to our knowledge, the most detailed school-by-school data on veteran students’ academic success anywhere, including graduation, retention, persistence and course completion rates,” says Amanda Miller, editor of Bets for Vets. Two years ago, only 11 percent of the hundreds of schools surveyed could provide that level of detail. This year, that figure is up to 45 percent. “By recognizing only the schools that do the most, we believe we’re helping to raise the bar in veteran student services.”
UNO’s rise to the nation’s top university for veterans has included:
- A one-stop Military and Veteran Services office (opened in 2012)
- An online Bachelor of General Studies program ranked in the top 20 nationally
- An application fee waiver for all active duty and veteran military students
- Joining the nation’s “8 Keys to Veterans’ Success” program in 2014
- A strong chapter of the national Air Force ROTC
- Free access to UNO’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation building for active duty military members on leave
- A campus location at Offutt Air Force Base
- A flexible deployment policy for active duty students
The No. 1 ranking follows an inclusion on G.I. Jobs Magazine’s “Military Friendly” earlier this year. G.I. Jobs does not rank programs included on its list.
“We have made major strides in student support,” Connolly explained. “Our biggest advancement has been improved academic intervention efforts to identify students who may be struggling and then finding them the support systems they need to be successful in the classroom.”
As one of the country’s first universities to institute the Bootstrapper program following World War II, UNO has a long and proud history of making the transition from military service to the classroom.
Notable UNO alumni who have served in the armed forces include current U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Four-Star General James P. Mullins, Four-Star General Johnnie E. Wilson, and Four-Star General Bryce Poe II.
UNO is also the alma mater of four Medal of Honor winners: Merlyn Dethlefsen (1965), Roger Donlon (1967), Jack Treadwell (1963) and Leo Thorsness (1964).
“For a majority of its 106-year history, UNO has made a commitment to veterans,” Christensen said. “As we look forward to the next 106 years, that commitment is now stronger than ever.”
The rankings are published in full in the issues of Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times on newsstands the week of Nov. 10; in the November issue of Military Times EDGE magazine; and online at MilitaryTimes.com, as well as ArmyTimes.com, NavyTimes.com, AirForceTimes.com and MarineCorpsTimes.com.
HPER Access for Service Members on Leave
Earlier this year, the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) announced that the campus Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) facilities are now available, free of charge, to any active duty service members on leave.
Effective immediately, any active duty service member with proper documentation that they are on leave can utilize UNO’s state-of-the art recreation and exercise facilities, which include an Olympic sized swimming pool, climbing wall, basketball courts, work out space and an Outdoor Venture Center.
This new program is an expansion of a similar offer made by UNO Campus Recreation and the UNO Office of Military and Veteran Services during the 2013 Holiday Break. The previous offer ended in February of this year.