UC Riverside has been named to the 2012 Military Friendly Schools list by G.I. Jobs magazine. The list recognizes the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to assist America’s military service members and veterans as students.

UCR is one of 1,518 schools to receive recognition. The list, which appears on the G.I. Jobs website and will be highlighted in the annual Guide to Military Friendly Schools, is based on surveys of more than 8,000 schools nationwide. UCR was also on the inaugural list in 2010.

“The new GI Bill gives many veterans who served since Sept. 11 a free ticket to college or trade school,” said Dan Fazio, managing editor for G.I. Jobs. “Many service members, particularly the younger ones who enlisted right out of high school, may be overwhelmed by the number of schools to choose from. The military friendly schools list helps them quickly find the schools that best serve America’s veterans.”

“For decades the university has had a strong commitment to veterans,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jim Sandoval. “As a public institution, we have the responsibility to acknowledge and support individuals who have given of themselves to support the country.”

UC Riverside currently has more than 550 students receiving state or federal veterans’ or military educational benefits.

Of these, about 400 are the spouses or children of veterans and service members, 10 are active-duty or reserve members, and the rest are veterans.

“UCR has a proud and long-standing history of excellent service and comprehensive support to student veterans, military members and military family members,” said Chryssa Jones, veteran services coordinator for UCR.

Jones said that UCR works to provide military and veteran students with the tools they need to succeed.

“They are highly motivated, goal-driven and they really know how to hit the books, study hard and get the job done,” she said, “But they’re also a little older, are in the midst of a career change and can have other challenges as well. It can be a pretty tough transition when they leave military service. We just want to make sure that students know our doors are open and we’re prepared to help.”

Two examples of available services are the veteran support team and the veteran peer mentors. The support team is made up of key contacts from across the campus who are familiar with the unique needs of military and veteran students, while the mentors are made up of military and veteran students who advise others during the transition to campus life.

According to Sandoval, the goal is to maintain and expand the level of services during these challenging budgetary times and to establish an independent veterans services office. “We have had discussions with foundations and individuals who have a willingness to support our veteran services,” he said.

The campus is also home to Operation Education, a scholarship program started by Karen White, wife of Chancellor Timothy P. White. The program is for U.S. military veterans who have sustained severe and permanent injuries during their service since Sept. 11, 2001.

“The Operation Education scholarship program further demonstrates UCR’s financial and administrative commitment to supporting veterans,” Jones said. “It’s one thing to say you support veterans and another thing when you put money where your mouth is.”

View the full list at www.militaryfriendlyschools.com.

Other useful websites:

UCR Services for Veterans: www.specialservices.ucr.edu/veterans/Pages/default.aspx.

Operation Education: operationeducation.ucr.edu.