When it comes to online bachelor's programs with the highest percentage of enrolled military veterans and active-duty service members, Saint Leo University places number nine in the 2015 U.S. News & World Report ranking.

One of the nation's largest and most committed providers of higher education to the U.S. military, Saint Leo University has been serving the education needs of service members and veterans for more than 40 years with flexible and convenient on-ground and online degree programs.

Online bachelor's programs with most veterans

According to U.S. News rankings, 30.4 percent of the students enrolled in Saint Leo online bachelor's programs are veterans and active duty service members. While the percentages for eight other schools were higher, only two other schools reported more actual military-related students enrolled than Saint Leo. Saint Leo reported a total of 1,822 veteran and active-duty military students enrolled in its online bachelor's programs.

The rankings are strictly for online programs and do not take into account Saint Leo's large on-ground military student populations at its education center and office locations – many of which are located on military bases. According to Tedd "Gunny" Weiser, interim director of the university's Office of Veteran Student Services, approximately 44 percent of Saint Leo's students university-wide – online and on-ground – are active military or veteran students.

Best Online Programs for Veterans

Saint Leo University also ranked within the U.S. News top 2015 Best Online Programs for Veterans. To be included in the online degree program for veterans ranking, programs first had to be among the top 75 percent of schools ranked in the 2015 Best Online Programs rankings. That meant the program had to be part of a regionally accredited institution and performed well on factors including student engagement, reputation, faculty credentials, and student services and technology.

In addition, the best online programs for veterans had to belong to an institution that is certified for the GI Bill® and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Altogether, 1,125 schools reported data to U.S. News and 737 online degree programs met the qualifications to be included in the best online bachelor's programs for veterans rankings.

*GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at www.benefits.va.gov/​gibill.

Why veterans and active military choose online programs

"Saint Leo University has a long and proud history of serving active-duty servicemen and women and military veterans," says Weiser.

"For more than four decades we have had the privilege of serving those who have served through our educational partnerships with the military. We understand the special challenges faced by military students and by veteran students, and structure our programs to make higher education convenient and programs adaptable to the mobile military lifestyle. That's a key reason why more than 30 percent of our online students are military related."

University-wide support for active military and veterans

From knowledgeable VA certifying officials, to student advisors, a variety of support services are available for online active duty and veteran students, including:

  • An emergency fund for temporary financial assistance through the Office of Veteran Student Services

  • A Military & Family Club that meets every month through the Center for Online Learning

  • The 1,000th chapter of the Student Veterans of America

  • A free, not-for-credit online Student Veteran Transition Course to help veterans with the transition from military to civilian life

"Regardless of whether they are active duty or veteran, taking classes online or on-ground," says Weiser, "it's important that all current and prospective students know that Saint Leo is committed to serving their needs and ensuring their academic success."

Image Credit: Anchiy on Shutterstock

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