FORT COLLINS, COLO. - Colorado State University (CSU) is once again ranked as one of the best colleges for military veterans and this year it's moved up.
The Military Times, a partner of 9NEWS, listed CSU as the sixth best college for vets out of 125 - up from last year's ranking of thirteenth.
It's the fourth public institution on this year's list.
"For us it's the BCS bowl rankings. It's the only one that matters," said Marc Barker, CSU's Director of Adult Learner and Veterans Services, about CSU's new ranking.
Barker says The Military Times ranking is the most thorough.
The Military Times surveyed the colleges for the information used in the rankings. It also used data from multiple federal agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The paper compared military enrollment to the total enrollment of the school, whether the college has a veterans office and if it offers the Yellow Ribbon Program, which helps pay for tuition that is not covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
It also looked at the colleges policies, staff support, and extracurricular activities to rank the public and private schools.
CSU received four stars for having the Yellow Ribbon program and for its extracurricular activities. It received three and a half stars for staff support.
The university has a number of programs and scholarships geared directly toward student veterans, including a new program just launched last fall.
"We've got a great peer-mentoring program, where we have student veterans acting in a role as peer mentor ro new student veterans entering the campus," said Barker.
It's also the home of "Salute" - the only national student veteran honor society.
Salute was founded at CSU in 2011 and has since taken off nationwide, with 9,000 student veterans being recognized.
CSU also happens to have an American Legion post on campus which is rare.
"It's one of the only universities that has a student American Legion Post. Usually cities have them, towns have them. but it's unusual for there to be a student-only post on campus," said Maggie Walsh, CSU's Assistant Chief of Staff and Director Veteran Initiatives.
The Military Times ranking also looked at the retention and graduation rates for military and non-military students at the universities. 66 percent of CSU military students graduate - on par with the 65 percent total graduation rate.
South Florida University topped the list.
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