SMC named Top 10 Military Friendly® School

Santa Monica College Earns Top 10 Military Friendly® School Designation for 2020-21

Santa Monica College (SMC) veteran students and guests with college staff at the 2019 Veterans Day held Nov. 11 at the quad on SMC’s main campus. Santa Monica College has earned a Top 10 2020-2021 Military Friendly® School designation. This is the highest “special award” in each category, as colleges and universities may earn a Top 10, Gold, Silver, or Bronze Special Award on top of their Military Friendly® School designation.

February 11, 2020

SANTA MONICA, CA—Santa Monica College (SMC) has earned a Top 10 2020-2021 Military Friendly® School designation. Institutions earning the Military Friendly® School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. More than 1,000 colleges and universities across the nation participated in the 2020-2021 survey with 695 earning the designation. SMC is among the top 10 in the “large community colleges” category. This is the highest “special award” in each category, as colleges and universities may earn a Top 10, Gold, Silver, or Bronze Special Award on top of their Military Friendly® School designation

The 2020-­2021 Military Friendly® Schools list will be published in the May issue of G.I. Jobs magazine and can be found at www.militaryfriendly.com. Methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Viqtory with input from the Military Friendly® Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher education and military recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for Student Retention, Graduation, Job Placement, Loan Repayment, Persistence (Degree Advancement or Transfer) and Loan Default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

“The SMC Veterans’ Resource Center team is honored to be recognized as a leading military serving college in the nation—this is a testament of the college’s commitment to our military servicemen and women,” said Kevin Benitez, a veteran and faculty leader for the center. “This designation is important and useful for prospective students as they look for colleges. Veterans, like all other students, want a college that will not only have their back but will also guide them to their goal, whether that be transferring to a four-year university, graduating from SMC, or beginning a career.”

Now in its 19th year, the Military Friendly® Schools list has come to set the standard for higher education institutions to provide the best opportunities for veterans and their spouses. This prestigious list provides a comprehensive guide for veterans and their families using data sources from federal agencies, veteran students and proprietary survey information from participating organizations.

SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery noted that this designation will also allow the college’s exemplary Veterans’ Resource Center to set benchmarks that will help the college better serve veterans.

“Santa Monica College has been deeply committed over the years to providing the kind of intensive support that student veterans need to succeed,” Jeffery said. “The credit goes to the staff and leadership of the Veterans’ Resource Center, both past and present. What is truly exemplary is the commitment they have poured into ensuring that veterans feel not just welcome here, but also find a community and support network who show in concrete, visible actions that they care deeply for veterans’ academic success and wellbeing.”

For the past five years, SMC has enrolled nearly 1,000 student veterans each academic year. California is home to an estimated 1.8 million veterans. The California community colleges as a system—composed of 73 community college districts and 115 colleges—enrolls roughly 80,000 veterans and active duty service members annually.

The SMC Veterans’ Resource Center is a “one stop shop” where student veterans have access to academic tutoring and counseling; a computer lab; therapy; and referrals to community resources and other veteran-serving programs in the West Los Angeles area. The center also offers a veteran lounge/study room, a popular spot where veterans can study and relax between classes.

Among recent and new activities at SMC: a Women’s Veterans Group who meets a few times each semester for a “self-care day”; a new student orientation exclusively for veterans which includes workshops with the SMC Center for Wellness & Wellbeing, Financial Aid, and more; field trips to USC and UCLA which included campus tours and interactions with student veterans at the universities; and a resumé and financial literacy workshop.

Military Friendly’s National Director Josh Rosen stated, “Our ability to apply a clear, consistent standard to colleges creates a competitive atmosphere that encourages colleges to invest in programs to provide educational outcomes that are better for the Military Community as a whole.”

For more information on the SMC Veterans’ Resource Center and all its services, visit smc.edu/veterans or call (310) 434-8205.

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About Military Friendly® Schools:

The Military Friendly® Schools list is created each year based on extensive research using public data sources for more than 8,800 schools nationwide, input from student veterans, and responses to the proprietary, data­-driven Military Friendly® Schools survey from participating institutions. The survey questions, methodology, criteria, and weighting were developed with the assistance of an independent research firm and an advisory council of educators and employers. The survey is administered for free and is open to all post­secondary schools that wish to participate.

Criteria for consideration can be found at militaryfriendly.com.

About Santa Monica College:

Founded in 1929, Santa Monica College is a California Community College accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). For 27 consecutive years, SMC has been California’s leader in transfers to UCLA, UC Berkeley, and other University of California campuses. The college also tops in transfers to the University of Southern California and Loyola Marymount University. More than 110 career training degrees and certificates at SMC offer professional preparation for students interested in directly entering the job market, transferring to a four-year school, or upgrading specific skills. SMC provides news and cultural enrichment through its NPR radio station KCRW (89.9 FM) and The Broad Stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center as well as lifelong learning through distinctive programs such as its Emeritus Program for older adults.

About Viqtory:

Founded in 2001, VIQTORY is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) that connects the military community to civilian employment, educational and entrepreneurial opportunities through its G.I. Jobs® and Military Friendly® brands. VIQTORY and its brands are not a part of or endorsed by the U.S. Dept. of Defense or any federal government entity. Learn more about VIQTORY at viqtory.com.