Now in its fourth year, the G.I. Jobs team approaches more than 12,000 schools, asking them to participate in an annual survey to help military personnel, veterans, and military dependents find schools that go above and beyond for them, according to the MFS Web site.
Being a MFS is just one more way for GCU to be recognized nationally and help recruit students, says Ellen Scavuzzo, GCU financial aid counselor/veteran educational benefit coordinator, who notes that GCU began participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program in 2009--2010. The program allows students who are 100 percent eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill to attend private colleges and universities.
MaryClare DiMaggio is one of the GCU students making the most of that program, which offers 20 annual spots at GCU (undergraduate and graduate combined) on a first-come, first-served basis.
MaryClare, an eight-year Air Force veteran who enlisted eight days before 9/11, says that GCU's participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program was a major factor in choosing GCU to continue her education.
"Completely separating my life from the military was difficult and took time. I have had very understanding professors from GCU that offered me great advice."
An MFS Academic Advisory Board of 12 higher education administrators, a representative from the Student Veterans Association, and the 2011 Military Spouse of the Year help determine survey questions and weightings.
Research findings are compiled and weighted according to the following categories to determine a final score:
- 45 percent for Effort 1, defined as certifications, programs, and policies, which measures a school's non-financial efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students. This category includes U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs approval to accept the GI Bill, academic credit for the College-Level Examination Program, and flexible learning programs.
- 35 percent for Effort 2, defined as financial commitment, which measures a school's financial efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students. This category includes the Yellow Ribbon Program membership, tuition benefits, and outreach dedicated to recruiting military students.
- 15 percent for a school's results, or success, in recruiting military and veteran students. This category includes the number and percentage of military and veteran students enrolled.
- 5 percent for other categories, including a school's academic accreditations.
"If they need anything, they can come to me and I refer them to wherever they need to go," says Ms. Scavuzzo. "There are all different kinds of resources out there, and during the school year I get various e-mails from organizations that I pass along to all our veteran students."