In recent years, the concept of “bad actor” schools has taken center stage in the debate surrounding military and veteran education outcomes, largely becoming synonymous with “for-profit college.” With the failings of ITT and other schools before it and sure to come after, we understand the concern of students and parents, veterans and non-veterans alike. Yet, in all of the discussions, regulations and executive branch actions designed to call out and curb bad behavior no single definition exists of what “bad actor” means. The result: confusion among service members, veterans and their families, as well as for higher education institutions.
That’s why this year we’ve evolved our Military Friendly® Schools benchmarks and ratings—and will publish our 2017 list of colleges, universities and trade schools—based on a enhanced, standard measure for evaluating institutions on the outcomes they provide for military students.
How it will work
The Military Friendly® School scoring methodology will be applied to more than 8,800 institutions that accept federal education benefits for veterans, across the spectrum of degree programs and institution types. Our 2017 list will identify those schools meeting the Military Friendly® standard, plus, new for this year, institutions eligible for the Military Friendly® designation based on public data, but that did not validate their data through the survey.
We consider three data sources for determining the Military Friendly® designation: publicly available data about the institution; proprietary Military Friendly® survey data from our most recent survey cycle; and personal opinion data from student veterans.
Defining Military Friendly® Schools
To be designated as a 2017 Military Friendly® School, institutions must have completed the survey to verify that their institution’s accreditation and federal status are in good standing, and that they meet at least three of six of the “50/20” benchmarks. These benchmarks measure an institution’s commitment to be “better for veterans” in meaningful outcome measures: graduation rate, retention rate, loan default rate, and job placement rate.
“50/20” Thresholds for Military Friendly® Schools
Schools must meet at least three of the six.
- Retention Rate in Year 1–All Students Rate is above 50%, or Veteran Students Rate (%) is above the All Students %.
- Retention Rate in Year 2–All Students Rate is above 50%, or Veteran Students Rate (%) is above the All Students %.
- Graduation Rate–All Students Rate is above 50%, or Veteran Students Rate (%) is above the All Students %.
- Job Placement Rate–All Students Rate is above 50%, or Veteran Students Rate (%) is above the All Students %.
- Loan Repayment Rate–All Students Rate is above 50%, or Veteran Students Rate (%) is above the All Students %.
- Loan Default Rate–All Students Rate is below 20%, or Veteran Students Rate (%) is below the All Students %.
Simpler. Clearer. Better for Veterans.
These measures, along with a more collaborative effort among veteran service organizations, government agencies, corporations, employers, higher education institutions and non-profit organizations, will provide military students with a clear and more concise picture of a college’s performance relevant to them. It will also help us ensure that only those institutions doing better for veterans receive the Military Friendly® School designation.
I think everyone can agree on that.
The 2017 Military Friendly® Schools list will be released this November. More information can be found at militaryfriendly.com.