From staff reports

Central Texas College was recently named to the top 10 list of most popular schools chosen by active-duty soldiers who use tuition assistance to pay for their higher education.

In a survey compiled by Military Times "EDGE" magazine, the college was named third overall by military personnel for the fiscal year 2011. Four-year schools American Military University of the American Public University System and the University of Maryland-University College finished first and second, respectively.

"It is this sort of reputation and ingenuity that made me want to become a part of Central Texas College," said Thomas Klincar, who became chancellor in October.

Military Times requested tuition assistance data on students, course enrollments and funds from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Army National Guard and Coast Guard. The Air Force information included data for the active-duty Air National Guard. The lists were combined and named college systems were grouped together to determine which schools served the most tuition assistance users in fiscal 2011.

Eighty percent of more than 300,000 service members using tuition assistance in fiscal 2011 enrolled in just 50 school systems. Many of these schools, including the college, have adapted and/or designed programs to meet the special needs of military students. Those needs include access in dispersed or sometimes dangerous locations, flexibility to accommodate unpredictable schedules and support staff to navigate tuition assistance and transfer credit issues.

"We have always positioned ourselves as a community college that strives to take care of the military and it is something we have worked very hard to do," said Klincar. "With the many options available, we are grateful the military recognizes us as a good value in higher education and a great return on their investment. It is something we take tremendous pride in as we continue to seek more opportunities to offer service members a quality education at a very affordable rate."

"EDGE" began tracking the most popular colleges for active-duty students in 2009. Since then it has seen a sharp increase in those choosing for-profit colleges. Of the top 50 schools, 14 are for-profit colleges — five of those are in the top 10. American Military University, which was the most popular school last year, widened its lead by 15 percent in students using tuition assistance. Central Texas College remained at number three overall with 24,521 students using tuition assistance.

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