Tuscaloosa named top metro for veterans seeking higher education

Peyton Shepard

Tuscaloosa was named the top-ranked metro for veterans seeking higher education in a joint study conducted by USAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes. The top metros were selected from a pool of 401 major U.S. metropolitan areas and were determined from findings based on a variety of measurable variables, according to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. This designation comes in addition to the University being named one of the best colleges for veterans by U.S. News and World Report.

Tuscaloosa ranked the highest out of the top 10 in two of the variables studied – graduation rate and percentage of Post-9/11 Yellow Ribbon recipients. The Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program makes additional funds available for education programs through degree-granting institutions agreeing to pay a specified amount that is then matched by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, according to the VA website. 

David Blair, director of UA Veteran and Military Affairs, said The University of Alabama is an unlimited school, which means they will take any students eligible for Yellow Ribbon benefits that wish to attend the University.

“A lot of your schools across the nation set limits on paying for 50 or 75 students in that category,” Blair said. “We’re wide open to as many as we can take.”

Blair said the recognition will send a good message to veterans across the country, as USAA is a leading financial services provider to the military community, and will promote the resources the University has to offer veterans.

“For us, I think it gives more prominence to the fact that we are veteran friendly and that we’re striving to be as veteran and military friendly as possible,” Blair said.

For more information on the UA Department of Veteran and Military Affairs and the resources it offers for military students, visit the department’s office in Suite 3000 Houser Hall or go to its website at vets.ua.edu. To learn more about the Post-9/11 GI Bill or the Yellow Ribbon Program, visit www.benefits.va.gov.