Brenau Ranks 12th in U.S. News Best Colleges for Veterans, Places 2nd Among Private Comprehensive Universities in Georgia

Sep 12, 2014
Brenau Staff

Brenau University ranked No. 12 in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 “Best Schools for Veterans” survey while moving up six places on the magazine’s rankings of comprehensive universities in the Southeast.

Brenau and Mercer University in Macon were the only private schools in Georgia to make the top 50 list in the rankings of comprehensive masters and doctoral degree-granting universities in the region.

However, private, not-for-profit Brenau was the only Georgia institution near the top of the list – 12 spots ahead of the second Georgia school in the top 25 – in the “Best Schools for Veterans” category.

Erik Nemecek, an undergraduate nursing alumnus from 2013, working at Children's Hospital of Atlanta in Egelston Wednesday, August 8, 2014.
U.S. Marines veteran Erik Nemecek earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Brenau University in 2013, which helped him win a job as an emergency room nurse at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, one of the leading pediatric hospitals in the United States.

“This ranking really means a lot to me,” said Brenau University President Ed Schrader. “For decades we have worked very, very hard with both those who have previously served our country plus those who are currently enlisted in various branches of the service to ensure that we provide them with the education that will serve them well in the next chapter of their lives.”

This is the second year that the magazine has ranked institutions that participate in federal initiatives to help veterans and active-duty service members and do the best job helping them apply for, pay for and complete their degrees.

Brenau has been well known for decades as a higher education institution of choice for military personnel and their families. Its Augusta campus, for example, started on the U.S. Army post there before growing out of that space to another location in the area. Brenau operated a popular program at the U.S. Navy logistics school when it was based on campus at the University of Georgia in Athens and produced a number of graduates who went on to illustrious careers in the Navy, among them the recently retired two-star Rear Adm. Patricia Wolfe. Brenau has operated its Kings Bay campus on base since the Navy established the critical base for its Atlantic Ocean fleet of Trident submarines almost 30 years ago. Kings Bay graduates include top naval officers as well as Dr. Gale Allen, who is now the deputy chief scientist at NASA.

This year’s 30th edition of “Best Colleges” includes data on about 1,800 colleges and universities. Eligible schools are ranked on up to 16 measures of academic excellence, including graduation rates, selectivity and freshmen retention, to help families compare schools, narrow their searches and make informed decisions. To determine the rankings, U.S. News collected data from a number of sources including the American Association of University Professors, the Council for Aid to Education and the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

The Regional Universities category focuses on those schools that offer a full range of undergrad programs and some master’s programs but usually only a few, if any, doctoral programs. Brenau, however, is one of the exceptions with its Doctor of Nursing Practice, which produced the first five graduates in May; its Occupational Therapy Doctorate, which launched the first class of eight candidates at the beginning of the Fall 2014 term; and the Doctor of Physical Therapy, which is now accepting applications for a 2015 inaugural class.

“What the rankings tell me is that Brenau is the second best-ranked private institution in Georgia among comprehensive universities,” said Schrader. “When I came to Brenau 10 years ago, I said that the university was a hidden gem with undiscovered potential. The potential is still with us but being recognized as one of the top-tier schools out of hundreds in this region shows that we are no longer undiscovered.”

The 2015 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges publication is available now online and in hard-copy form newsstands or by order from the magazine’s website. Brenau’s full rankings in all categories, including previously awarded status for top graduate and online programs, is at