United States, receiving recognition for its service to student-veterans, according to lists developed by two media companies: Military Times and Military Advanced Education. This is the fourth year MCC has been named to the Military Times list and the fifth time for Military Advanced Education.
MCC President Joann La Perla-Morales credited the Veterans Services Center for the rankings. Established in 2011 with support from the Willard T.C. Johnson Foundation, the center’s mission is to assist with quality education and comprehensive support services.
“The center has done a great job in assisting military veterans as they transition to civilian life,” she said. “They make sure veterans receive all the entitlements for which they are eligible, coordinate services they need to be successful, and create an environment where they can socialize with other military veterans and current service members.”
The latter group includes Georgia Varoucha, currently in the U.S. Army National Guard.
“As soon as I walked into the Veterans Center at MCC, I felt like I was home,” she said. “Everyone is welcoming and friendly. They go out of their way to help with V.A. paperwork, scheduling classes, tutoring and scholarships.”
Frank Rivera, the coordinator of the Veterans Center, said he was grateful for the generous support of the Willard T.C. Johnson Foundation.
“The Foundation has allowed us to make a huge difference in the lives of these men and women,” he said. “I’m so proud of them and their success.”
Mr. Rivera highlighted several center initiatives.
“First is the formal training we give to faculty and staff that allows them to understand what our military-affiliated students have been through,” he said. “We also offer academic advising, tutoring, and we have a VetsSuccess counselor on campus. All this helps our students succeed, and it also alleviates stress as they map out their future.”
Another plus is the Veterans and Servicemembers Association, a student organization that develops extracurricular activities for veterans and promotes community service opportunities. In the past the group has visited veterans in local nursing homes and participated in Operation Shoebox, in which they packed food and hygiene items that were delivered to troops overseas.
Military Times publishes magazines for members in the branches of military service. Its survey, called “Best for Vets,” is an editorially independent news project that evaluates the many factors that help make colleges and universities a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families. More than 600 colleges took part in this year’s detailed survey. Middlesex was ranked 12th in the nation among two-year colleges; it was the only community college in New Jersey to make the list.
“Only the best made the cut,” said George Altman, the Military Times editor in charge of the rankings. “For the past eight years, we’ve seen colleges and universities consistently increasing their resources, revising their policies and improving their academic outcomes for military and veteran students. The Military Times Best Colleges rankings showcase the very best of these efforts.”
The rankings are published in full in the issues of Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times.
Military Advanced Education (MAE) named MCC a Top School in its 2018 MAE Guide to Colleges & Universities, measuring best practices in military and veteran education. It will be released in the December issue of MAE, and is available online at www.mae-kmi.com.
“There are many different variables by which you could evaluate an institution, but we focus on the best practices that have been asserted by various higher education groups and reinforced by veteran groups,” said Kelly Fodel, the editor. “These best practices assure students that they have a high chance of success and support at their school of choice. That’s why we consider our survey to be the most detailed and informative in the industry.”