OXFORD, Miss. (WJTV) – The Military Times recently listed the University of Mississippi as first within the Southeastern Conference and fifth nationally in its annual Best for Vets ranking

Military Times surveyed 325 colleges and universities across the nation for their resources, opportunities and success rates for veterans. Ole Miss has previously ranked in the top 25 universities. According to Chancellor Glenn Boyce, the dramatic rise in the university’s ranking is proof of Ole Miss; dedication to serving and supporting veterans.

“Since the first student veteran organization was established on our campus in 1920, we have worked to create an atmosphere that fosters success after service for over 1,900 military-connected students enrolled today,” Boyce said. 

Military Times’s ranking has become a metric by which potential students and their families assess a university’s military readiness. For Andrew Newby, assistant director of the UM Office of Veteran and Military Services, it is a resource that he knows matters to veteran students. 

“When service members go to a base exchange to get the things they need, this publication is there. When they leave active service, they recognize this outlet and will trust what it recommends,” Newby said. 

Ole Miss’s Office of Veteran and Military Services opened ten years ago in 2013. The office, now located at the George Street House, has become a one-stop shop for veterans on the Oxford campus. There, veterans and military-connected students may access GI Bill benefits and VA benefits. It also functions as a place to study, eat and apply for scholarships and military transfer credits, all in one place.

The Office of Veteran and Military Services instituted the Veteran Treatment Team on campus in 2018. It allows student veterans to seek health care at Ole Miss instead of having to drive hours to the nearest VA facility. It saves military-connected students time and money and makes health care more accessible for veterans. This semester, the office also added an in-house counselor who specializes in the needs of students who are or were active military. 

The university appreciates the recognition from the Military Times, but Newby said that the office will continue to evolve.

“We recognize that priorities and the desires of our students will shift with new generations of veterans, and we have to continue to meet new needs, new issues and new opportunities,” Newby said. 

Other Mississippi schools also appeared in the top 50. The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is ranked 42nd overall and Mississippi State University (MSU) is the 45th best nationally.