The University of Arizona recently received two prestigious recognitions for its commitment to service members and veterans. The student-focused Military Times named UArizona a 2022 “Best for Vets” university, and the UArizona Police Department was awarded the 2023 four-star Best for Vets Employer Award by the VETS Indexes.
The Military Times “Best for Vets” ranking honors institutions’ dedication to military-connected students and their families, including those in the National Guard and the Reserves. The ranking placed UArizona No. 8 overall, No. 6 among public universities and No. 1 in the West in 2022. This represents a six-spot increase from its overall position in 2021 and a 44-spot leap from its inaugural appearance in the list 2018.
The well-deserved recognition reflects the success of several UArizona programs focusing on vets. One is the Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) program, recognized as one of the top programs for student veterans in the country since its establishment in 2008.
“To support the success of our student veterans and their families, we must constantly strive to understand their experience in an authentic way,” said VETS program director Bruce Grissom. “Our year-over-year improvement in these rankings shows that our team’s hard work and dedication is truly making an impact.”
Another way UArizona honors students who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces, and their families, is with robust financial aid options. For undergraduate students with an approved TA Voucher from the U.S. Department of Defense Tuition Assistance program, a Military TA Tuition Reduction Waiver will adjust the cost of all their enrolled classes to $250 per credit hour. The Arizona Board of Regents has recently approved a Veteran Spouse Program that provides in-state tuition and mandatory fees after other financial aid to the spouses of honorably discharged veterans enrolled in their first degree program. Through the support of generous donors, military-connected students can also find many other scholarship opportunities for veterans and their families on Scholarship Universe.
Additionally, UArizona is one of four universities chosen to host the U.S. Department of Defense's new Defense Civilian Training Corps—a program similar to ROTC but designed for future civilians working for the U.S. Department of Defense. The DCTC offers free tuition and provides career pathways with institutions such as the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground, Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Fort Huachuca and Luke Air Force Base.
The second veteran-related recognition comes to UArizona by way of its police department. The VETS Indexes 2023 four-star Best for Vets Employer Award—went to the UAPD for providing the military-connected community excellent employment opportunities. “Being selected as a four-star employer is a great honor when you see the other employers in this category,” said Assistant Chief of Police Bob Sommerfeld. UAPD has previously been recognized as a three-star employer in 2022 and 2021 by the VETS Indexes.
Sommerfeld encourages military members seeking a rewarding career to consider campus public safety. “UAPD is a great place to work,” he said. “We are always looking to hire and retain high-quality personnel, which our military members and veterans are.”
UAPD is just one of the options at the university for members of the military community seeking new careers. Through SkillBridge, a Department of Defense initiative, the UArizona National Security Program helps military personnel within 180 days of release from active duty develop the next step of their careers. The university offers diverse placements that serve as launch pads to employment in the individual’s field of choice.
As University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins said when the Best for Vets rankings were released in September, UArizona prioritizes serving these students as part of its mission. “We believe it is our responsibility to provide world-class educational and research opportunities, along with a wide range of support services, for our military-connected students and their families,” said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “We are honored to have these remarkable students in the Wildcat family.”