The honor is given by VIQTORY Media, self described as a “data-driven military marketing company” who works to use media to improve the lives of those connected to the military. Awards are given to schools and employers based on an extensive survey conducted by VIQTORY Media which is then evaluated by a third party to test for legitimacy of answers, said Joshua Rider, the executive director of the Center for Adult and Veteran Services at Kent State.
The organization evaluates factors such as retention of military-connected students (veterans, service members and their dependents), recruitment, performance of students (graduation rates and GPAs), services and programs offered and marketing and web presence, Rider said.
“It means to Kent State as a university that it’s consistent service to this population, upholding a standard for 12 years,” Rider said. “It’s a really consistent, high standard of service to our military-connected students.”
Two regional campuses, Trumbull and Tuscarawas, were also named Military Friendly schools. The main campus, however, received a bronze-level ranking, meaning it was among the top 30 percent of similarly-sized schools in its category.
Veteran services provides a place for students to process benefits, have questions answered and connect to additional resources, including Student Accessibility Services, housing and childcare, dining, advising and career services, Rider said.
One newer service started in spring of 2020 at the start of the pandemic were phone calls made by employees within the veteran services office to military-connected students. Meant to act as a check-in and a time to inquire about student needs, this service continued in the fall of 2020 and is anticipated to continue in upcoming semesters, Rider said.
He said being given the award is a testament to the “comprehensive support” Kent State as a whole offers its military community.
“It wouldn’t be possible without other areas in the institution: the university itself agreeing to the principles of excellence, agreeing to a number of different things and abiding by certain standards,” Rider said. “It’s not possible to even be Military Friendly if the university hasn’t committed to that.”
In regards to the future, Rider said continuing KSU’s military excellence is a priority.
“We never stop improving,” Rider said. “It’s continuing to work with our partners in fundraising and advancement to get more opportunities for our military-connected students, whether that be scholarships or physical space…to leverage those internal and external partnerships.”
Emma Andrus covers administration. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.