Best for Vets

Mount Wachusett Community College, long recognized nationally for its comprehensive veteran services, has again been named to Military Times’ Best for Vets: Colleges 2015 rankings.

MWCC was ranked seventh nationally among two-year colleges in the Military Times' Best for Vets: Colleges 2015 rankings.

MWCC was ranked seventh nationally among two-year colleges in the Military Times’ Best for Vets: Colleges 2015 rankings.

Released alongside Veterans Day, the independent news project evaluates organizations based on their support systems and campus cultures to provide a reference point for service members, military veterans and their families. In order be considered for the rankings, MWCC and other colleges meticulously documented these services through a survey with over 100 questions.

MWCC was ranked seventh nationally among two-year schools in a list that includes a total of 140 four-year, two-year, online and nontraditional schools. The list will be published in issues of Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times, Marine Corps Times and Military Times EDGE magazine, as well as online at MilitaryTimes.com, ArmyTimes.com, NavyTimes.com, AirForceTimes.com and MarineCorpsTimes.com.

“Given this award’s proximity to Veterans Day, we express our collective gratitude to veterans throughout this country, including those we are fortunate to call MWCC students,” said President Daniel M. Asquino. “These students strengthen our campus community, and we are proud to provide the services that help them flourish.”

“This is a school whose faculty and staff are genuinely good people who sincerely care about our veteran population,” said Veterans Services Director Robert Mayer. “I can’t express how good it makes me feel to know that, wherever they go on campus, our veterans will be taken care of.”

MWCC launched the Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success in 2010 to address the unique academic, financial, social and physical needs of veterans, military personnel and military families transitioning to college life. Student veterans are also active members of the campus community, participating in such clubs and organizations as the Veterans Group and Student Government Association.

In August 2013, MWCC became one of the first 250 higher-education institutions to implement President Obama’s “8 Keys to Success” initiative to help boost academic opportunities and improvement employment outcomes for veterans.

MWCC also maintains community partnerships with the Montachusett Veteran Outreach Center, the Northeast Veteran Training & Rehabilitation Center operated by Veteran Homestead, Inc., the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services’ SAVE program, and local posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

The residential and educational partnership between MWCC and the NVTRC, run on a portion of campus property, served as the focus of a recent segment on WGBY in Springfield.

MWCC has again earned a top spot among veteran-friendly colleges by Military Times.

Mount Wachusett Community College has earned national recognition for its support for veterans from several military-focused organizations over the past several years. On Veterans Day, Military Times again named MWCC to its Best for Vets: Colleges 2014 rankings.

Best for Vets provides service men and women a gauge by which to judge whether a school or degree program will truly benefit them. The rankings factored in service member enrollment, percentage of tuition covered by the GI Bill, and availability of specific programs to help service members. The organization placed a new emphasis on academic rigor this year when conducting and scoring the fourth annual Best for Vets: Colleges survey, a 150-question analysis of a school’s complete offerings for veterans.

MWCC was ranked fourth nationally for two-year schools. The full rankings include 120 four-year, two-year, online and nontraditional schools. The top schools in each category are being showcased in the November issue of Military Times EDGE magazine, the premier publication for military transition, and affiliated Gannet Company publications and websites, including USA Today and the newsweeklies Military Times, Army Times, Navy Times. Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times.

“Mount Wachusett Community College has a long history of serving veterans, and we’re delighted to be recognized for our commitment to those who courageously serve our country,” said President Daniel M. Asquino. “In recent years, we have enhanced our services through our Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, which is helping veteran students and their dependents transition to college life and receive ongoing support.”

The Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, initially established in 2010 through a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education, has helped MWCC create a culture of positive energy and enthusiasm for its military students, said Director Kristine Larkin. The center was among the first 15 in the county selected to serve as national models and has become a staple in the lives of student veterans at MWCC and a hub of activity on campus. Support services address the unique academic, financial, social and physical needs to veterans transitioning to college life.

Collaborating with nonprofit community partners and building strong relationships with student veterans are contributing to the center’s success in serving students, Larkin said. Community partners include the Montachusett Veteran Outreach Center, the Northeast Veteran Training & Rehabilitation Center operated by Veteran Homestead, Inc., the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services’ SAVE program, and local posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

MWCC is a designated Yellow Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. In addition, the college developed a First year Experience course designed specifically for veterans and many of the students are active in the veterans club on campus, which is affiliated with Student Veterans of America.