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Most popular colleges: Methodology

Jul. 28, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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The Post-/11 GI Bill comparison shows the institutions of higher education most popular with current and former service members and their families using the Post-9/11 GI Bill in fiscal 2013. The Veterans Affairs Department provided data, and information from the Education Department and some individual schools was referenced to interpret it. Dollar figures do not include stipends or Yellow Ribbon Program contributions.

The tuition assistance charts show the institutions of higher education most popular with service members using that benefit in fiscal 2013. We gathered data on TA use from the Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy covering their service members, from the Air Force covering their members and activated members of the Air National Guard, and from the Army covering their members, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard.

Information from the Defense Department, Education Department and some individual schools was referenced to interpret the data. Schools whose names appear (italicized within a ranking) would have ranked in the top 50 among its respective peers, even before being combined with sister institutions, and are not readily recognized by the name of the parent system. Sister schools within the same system were identified and combined, whenever possible and appropriate.

Graduation rate data, where provided, are from the Education Department. The graduation rate shows the percentage of first-time, full-time students who graduated within 150 percent of the expected degree-completion time ó students who by 2012 earned associate degrees after starting school in 2009 or by 2012 earned bachelorís degrees after starting in 2006. Among all schools tracked by the Education Department, the average graduation rate for 2012 was 56 percent for four-year schools and 33 percent for two-year schools. Because many service members and veterans donít enroll as first-time, full-time students, they often are not accounted for in graduation rates, but the metric provides some indication of academic success for a schoolís overall student population. The number in parentheses is the transfer-out rate for the same period, which, when available, can give a more accurate representation of student success if added to the graduation rate.

Default rate data are also from the Education Department and show the percentage of students from the 2010 graduating class who defaulted on loans within two years of starting to repay them. Among all schools tracked by the Education Department, the average default rate for this period was 15 percent.

These lists show which schools were most attended by TA beneficiaries; no endorsement of schools or their quality should be inferred.

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