Central Texas College (CTC) was recently named to the Military Times Best: Colleges 2018 list – the most comprehensive school-by-school assessment of veteran and military student services and rates of academic achievement. In the category of online and non-traditional schools, CTC ranked third behind the University of Maryland University College and Liberty University.

Formerly known as Best for Vets, Military Times: Best Colleges rankings, in its eighth year, is an editorially independent news project that evaluates the many factors that help make colleges and universities a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families. More than 600 colleges took part in this year’s detailed survey. Colleges and universities are asked to document a tremendous array of services, special rules, accommodations and financial incentives offered to students with military ties. The survey also requires schools to describe many aspects of veteran culture on a campus. Military Times then factors in data from the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments, as well as three Education Department sources: the Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System Data Center, College Scorecard data and the Cohort Default Rate Database.

In addition to the central and Fort Hood campuses, CTC has 26 sites on military installations across the continental United States and Alaska and Hawaii. CTC also provides higher education services to military personnel in numerous countries through its Europe Campus and to Navy ships at sea through the CTC Navy Campus.

At the time of the survey, CTC reported a military enrollment of 21,934 (an overall enrollment of 33,094) which represents an unduplicated 12-month headcount for the 2016-17 academic year. CTC also reported a 57 percent military student retention rate and a graduation/transfer rate of 13 percent.

Among the factors contributing to CTC’s number three ranking was the school’s credit-per-hour rate being below the established tuition assistance cap of $250 and under the G.I. Bill cap. CTC’s full out-of-state tuition for all programs is lower than the nationwide cap of $17,500 per school year. Also, CTC’s VetSuccess Center, which was established at its central campus to specifically handle veterans’ issues; its acceptance and granting of credits for military training recommended by the American Council on Education credits; and the school’s participation in the College Credit for Heroes program which offers college credit to military veterans for their military training and experience.

“When we opened our doors 50 years ago, one of our goals was to offer the best higher educational opportunities for members of the military,” said Jim Yeonopolus, CTC chancellor. “We continued to do that today by expanding course and program offerings for current and transitioning service members and military veterans. CTC’s inclusion in the list of Military Times best colleges is not only an indication of the commitment to our original goal but an accomplishment we will continue to strive to achieve.”