University Business Magazine Honors National University for Being a "Model of Excellence"

March 31, 2016

University recognized for developing an innovative approach to improving academic outcomes among its military students, now being expanded to undergraduate population

SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (March 31, 2016)– National University, the second-largest private nonprofit university in California, is one of eight colleges and universities nationwide being honored by University Business magazine in its Spring 2016 Models of Excellence recognition program. Sponsored by Higher One, a leading provider of financial services to college and university campuses across the U.S., the Models of Excellence program recognizes innovative approaches to encouraging and nurturing student success on campus.

“Encouraging veterans to apply to our higher education institutions is a small part of helping them succeed in this sector,” says University Business senior editor Tim Goral. “National University’s Veteran Student Academic Intervention program offers a multifaceted approach to assisting student vets in need by providing individualized academic guidance, as well as a personal connection through its peer mentor component.”

With as many as 24 percent of National University students serving or having served in the military, the school saw a need to assist its students in transitioning to civilian life and college. So National University created a Veteran Student Academic Intervention Program designed to assist members of the military in progressing and succeeding in earning a degree. As a result of its successful outcomes, the University has now rolled the program out to its entire undergraduate population.

The Veteran Student Academic Intervention program is one of many offerings available through the University’s Student Services comprehensive student success programs. Student Success. The program debuted in 2012 to address the greatest need reported by its military student population – academic support. Several hundred student veterans per term find themselves on academic probation (GPA below 2.0) or at risk of being placed on probation (GPA 2.0-2.25). Students in these two groups are contacted, offered strategies for improving their GPA, such as receiving tutoring and supplemental instruction, and then paired with a Veteran Retention and Transition specialist who serves as a coach, as well as a peer mentor, who is a fellow student veteran, who serves as a role model and sounding board.

Although its Academic Program takes a holistic approach to understanding students’ barriers to success, it quickly became clear that the peer mentors were the key to success. “There can be a reluctance among the veteran population to ask for help,” says Dr. Joseph Zavala, Vice President of Student Services at National University, but once connected with a peer mentor, real change can happen. “Because they can relate to someone with the same background, there is a level of trust there that helps veterans open up,” he says. “We can help them once we know what they need.”

“Developing a rapport with the peer mentor is paramount to success,” says Zavala. The Academic Probation Intervention program found that over a nine-month period, an average of 33 percent of students were returned to good academic standing. This figure is nearly three times the average 12.5 percent of students who return to good academic standing without any intervention.

In addition to National University, Spring 2016 Models of Excellence honorees include: Mercy College (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.); University of Central Oklahoma (Edmond, Okla.); Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, La.); Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, Wis.);Colorado College (Colorado Springs, Co..); Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, Ariz.); and Tulane University (New Orleans, La.).

“The Spring 2016 Models of Excellence honorees tackled some of the most pressing issues in higher education and found demonstrative success in their tactics,” says Andrew Crawford, senior vice president of campus services and operations at Higher One. “We are pleased to recognize their efforts alongside University Business.”

Launched in 2015, Models of Excellence is a national recognition program honoring colleges and universities that have implemented innovative, effective and inter-departmental initiatives that are bolstering student success. The program is sponsored by Higher One, which offers a wide array of technological services on campus, ranging from streamlining the institution’s performance analytics and financial aid refund processes to offering students innovative banking services, tuition payment plans and the basics of financial management. Higher One works closely with colleges and universities by allocating resources more efficiently to provide a higher quality of service and using data to impact success with a focus on empowering students.

About University Business
University Business is the leading publication for senior managers at colleges and universities throughout the United States, reaching 75,000 leaders who manage enrollment, technology, business, finance, facilities and academic affairs. More information is available at

About Higher One
About Higher One Holdings, Inc. Higher One Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: ONE) is a leading financial technology company focused on providing cost-saving solutions that enhance student service for the business office of colleges and universities. Higher One’s technologies for higher education institutions streamline the processes of financial aid disbursement and payment acceptance. Higher One also provides options for students and families to manage college-related expenses, such as unique student-banking services, and financial education through $tart with Change. Higher One supports more than 1,500 campuses and more than 9 million students across the U.S. More information can be found at

About National University
Founded in 1971, National University is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California. With 30,000 students and more than 150,000 alumni, National University is the flagship institution of the National University System. National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. Two colleges and four schools – the College of Letters and Sciences; the Sanford College of Education; the School of Business and Management; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies – offer more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees and 23 teacher credentials. Programs are offered at locations throughout California and across the nation, and are also available online. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California.