Writer: Audry Olmstead
New Mexico State University is committed to the needs of the men and women who serve in the military. Now, the university has gained its second national recognition as a military-friendly institution.
Military Advanced Education magazine puts out an annual guide of military-friendly colleges and universities based on a series of criteria that include the evaluation of an institution’s academic programs, online programs and the support the institution offers to veterans. NMSU was highlighted in the magazine’s November/December 2009 edition for the wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs it offers, which attract high interest from students in the military. NMSU was also named a military-friendly school in G.I. Jobs’ 2010 Guide to Military Friendly Schools in 2009.
“This designation hopefully means good things for us in the future,” said David Melendez, military coordinator for Student Success. “This is a great honor because it shows service members that not only do they have an opportunity to take part in programs at an accredited institution, but it is one with a unique position among the nation’s higher education institutions. NMSU is the only land-grant institution classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a doctoral university with high research activity that also ranks in the top 100 universities and colleges on research and development by the National Science Foundation.”
The term “military-friendly,” Melendez said, means an institution that is sensitive to the needs and dynamics of the military population.
One of the biggest challenges service members face is that they do not spend a significant amount of time in one place; frequent moving makes it hard to finish a degree at one college or university. Students can easily end up with several transcripts from the various institutions they attended.
NMSU accepts American Council on Education recommendation of credits from military transcripts and NMSU’s Veteran Affairs Office provides educational services to veterans and family members. The university also accepts credits through DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) Examination Programs such as College-Level Examination Program and DANTES Subject Standardized Tests. DANTES offers a wide variety of education support to the Department of Defense.
Doña Ana Community College offers classes to the military at White Sands Missile Range, and NMSU-Alamogordo offers classes to service members at Holloman Air Force Base. Since fall 2009, NMSU has had permanent classroom and office space at Fort Bliss in Texas.
“NMSU really caters its services to the needs of the military population,” Melendez said.
NMSU is a member of Servicemembers Opportunity College and is a Letter of Instruction school, as well as a participant in GoArmyEd. Courses are taught online and at locations on or near military installations.