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By: Van Arnold

Military Friendly: Top 10 SchoolsContinuing its mission to provide veterans, their spouses, and the military community with the finest in educational opportunities, The University of Southern Mississippi again has been selected as a Top 10 “Military Friendly” school for 2020-21 by online resource guide militaryfriendly.com.

This prestigious recognition identifies USM as the top “Military Friendly” four-year Institution in the State of Mississippi and one of the leaders across the United States in providing support and care for military students. Support services are provided through USM’s Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families.

“We continue to work each and every day seeking new methods to better support our military students. Recognition as a Top 10 ‘Military Friendly’ institution validates our hard work but more importantly, drives me and our staff to do more for our students. We are honored and humbled by this recognition and certainly eager to do more,” said Maj. Gen. (U.S. Army, ret.) Jeff Hammond, Director of Veteran and Military Affairs at USM.

Now in its 19th year, the Military Friendly® Schools list has come to set the standard for higher education institutions to provide the best opportunities for veterans and their spouses. This prestigious list provides a comprehensive guide for veterans and their families using data sources from federal agencies, veteran students and proprietary survey information from participating organizations.

Institutions earning the Military Friendly® School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey completed by the school. Student survey data was also taken into consideration for the designation. More than 1,000 schools participated in the 2020-2021 survey, with 625 schools earning the designation. The Top 10 recognition equates to Gold status for those institutions.

The 2020-2021 Military Friendly® Schools list will be published in the May issue of G.I. Jobs magazine and can also be found at www.militaryfriendly.com.

USM’s Veterans Center has begun the new year with a series of partnerships designed to enhance academic/professional opportunities for its student veterans. These include:

Partnering with the Community College of the Air Force

The University has formally partnered with the United States Air Force’s Community College of the Air Force General Education Mobile (GEM) program. The Community College of the Airforce is a SACS accredited community college serving Air Force members’ educational needs worldwide. The Air Force recognized the need to partner with schools with similar accreditation and provide accessible enrollment opportunities.  Through its partnership with the Air Force, USM positions itself to enhance the educational opportunities for our Air Force Members across the world.

Partnering with Camp Shelby

The University has expanded its educational offerings at Camp Shelby via the Soldier and Family Assistance Center located at 1303 Jackson Road. With the support of Colonel Bobby M. Ginn Jr., Camp Shelby Commander, USM has been afforded a unique opportunity to provide routine education benefit counseling to service members and their families, and to present a variety of other educational opportunities. In addition to USM representatives Michael McGee (Veteran Outreach Coordinator), Teddy Reid (Veteran Service Officer) and Steven Welch (VA Vet Success on Campus provider) USM staff members will provide “full-service” assistance to all veterans, service members and their families.  Camp Shelby office hours will occur each Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. with plans to expand availability if needed.    

Developing Partnership with the Army Sergeants Major Academy

The University has been afforded the opportunity to participate in a partnership with the Army to assist soldiers as they pursue a bachelor’s degree during, or prior to, attending the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy. The Sergeants Major Academy is acknowledged by military and civilian organizations as the premiere noncommissioned officer education institution in the world. This is a result of innovation, agility, and a forward-looking approach to leader development/education. The Academy is a higher-level learning institution of academic excellence supported by a world class staff, faculty and curriculum. In coordination with Dr. Deidra Minor of USM’s Department of Applied Technology, USM has been recognized as an accepted partner in educating the Army’s most senior and experienced non-commissioned officer leaders. “We are excited that we have met the initial requirements to enter this partnership with the Army Sergeants Major Academy and anticipate working more closely with the Army to solidify this wonderful partnership,” said Michael McGee, USM Veterans Center outreach Coordinator.

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