Quinnipiac ranked third among 311 universities for military students

Katie Langley and Nicole McIsaac

The Military Times ranked Quinnipiac University as third in the nation for active duty and veteran students in its 2022 Best for Vets ranking. 

The publication surveyed 311 colleges and universities out of the nearly 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. Participant institutions had to volunteer to be a part of the survey and submit answers to 70 questions on services and resources provided to military students.

Students were not surveyed as a part of the ranking. Metrics like GPA, completion, retention numbers and financial aid provided for military students were taken into consideration.

Executive Director of Veterans and Military Affairs and Assistant Vice President for Student Experience Jason Burke said that there are just over 200 student veterans at Quinnipiac, two percent of the overall student population.

“I was really surprised (about the ranking) and I felt really honored to support our student veterans… It’s really a recognition for them,” Burke said.

Student Veteran James Magson, a junior political science major, said that attending Quinnipiac has been one of his most fulfilling experiences, second only to serving in the Marine Corps from 2015-2020. 

“We are all very different and contribute to Quinnipiac in different ways, but the veteran community has managed to remain unified through academic collaboration, personal mentorship, and simply being friends,” Magson wrote in an email to The Chronicle. “Being a part of this community has strengthened my academic performance and personal life as well.” 

In addition, Quinnipiac was ranked first in Connecticut for military students by the Military Times. Only three Connecticut schools participated in the survey: Middlesex Community College (185th overall), Goodwin University (133rd overall) and Quinnipiac. There are over 40 colleges and universities in the state.

“This survey aims to account for the wide spectrum of educational models in our country, while prioritizing the baseline experiences of military-connected students,” The Military Times wrote in a release Sept.9. “We advise readers that the best ‘fit’ between an individual student and a school can only be gauged by more specific inquiry into the needs of the student and the institutional character of each school.”

Burke, a retired naval officer, said that the online and print publication is well known among the military community, with subsets the Army Times, Navy Times, Airforce Times and Marine Corps Times.

Burke said that he started filling out the lengthy surveys around ten years ago when he began at Quinnipiac and has seen the university score in the top 60s, 20s and No. 12, but never in the top ten.

Due to an increase in endowed funds from external donors, Burke said that military students are being provided with more scholarship opportunities.

“It really shows that our students are mission-focused, and career-oriented, too, to get their degree and move on and catch up to their peers that went into college right after high school when they went into the military,” Burke said.

As veteran and active-duty students do not enter college directly after graduating high school, Burke said that there is often added anxiety about going to school with different life experiences than their peers.

“So that’s where I come in, to help them ease their minds, let them concentrate on being students and have me along with the other administrative offices on campus take that administrative burden off of them as much as possible,” Burke said.

Joseph Coverly, a junior international business and computer information systems double major who served in the navy, said that his experience as a student veteran at Quinnipiac has been positive.

“Coming to Quinnipiac with such a large number of vets makes me feel right at home,” Coverly wrote in an email to The Chronicle. “It’s hard to explain, but there is a bond between veterans. Even if we do not know each other, we are still family.”

As the treasurer of the Student Veterans Organization, Coverly said that he and other student veterans feel supported by Burke and the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs.

Veterans Affairs along with the SVO hosts events like the Veterans Day flag raising, Veteran State Dinner and fundraisers,like a dodgeball tournament and barbeque cookout, to bring the university’s military community together, Burke said.

“Quinnipiac welcomes our experience and always thanks us for our service,” Coverly said.

Burke said that the average age for veteran and active-duty students at Quinnipiac is around 27 years old, and many military students live in the community rather than on campus and have families of their own. In addition, many military students are the first generation to attend college in their family.

“(The military community on campus is) about two hundred students that are a myriad of life experiences and ethnicities and religions, and they all come together as a group that works hard,” Burke said.