November 12, 2013

SIU is among nation’s elite for serving veterans

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale this week earned significant national recognition for educational services it provides to veterans.

U.S. News and World Report ranked SIU 46th in the nation in its inaugural “Best National Universities for Veterans” listings. The rankings include numerically ranked schools in the 2014 edition of the “U.S. News Best Colleges” that meet criteria that include: belonging to the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Consortium; certified for the GI Bill, and participating in the “Yellow Ribbon Program.” A look at the magazine’s “Best National Universities for Veterans” rankings is available here.  SIU Carbondale is the only university in Illinois to make the national university list.

In addition, SIU also ranks among the top 10 in the nation when it comes to assisting student military veterans as they return to the classroom.

Military Times Edge magazine places SIU Carbondale eighth in the nation among 86 four-year institutions in its 2014 rankings of the 120 Best Colleges for Vets. The rankings also include two-year schools and online and nontraditional schools. In all, more than 600 institutions responded to the survey.

Both magazines released their respective rankings on Monday, which was Veterans Day.

The university has been in the Military Times Edge list in each of the four years it has been published dating to 2010.

“SIU has a longstanding tradition of serving those who have served our nation,” Chancellor Rita Cheng said. “Our faculty and staff are dedicated to helping all veterans achieve their educational and career goals.”

Military-specific factors included in the evaluation process include service member enrollment, percentage of tuition covered by the GI Bill, and availability of specific programs to help service members.  Retention, graduation rates, student-faculty ratios, student loan default rates, an applicant’s average SAT and ACT scores, and selectivity are among other factors involved in the editorially independent news project.

A complete look at the rankings is available at

On Saturday, SIU Carbondale received the prestigious “Above and Beyond” award from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

Last month, the university announced its partnership with “Hope For The Warriors,” a national non-profit organization, to enhance educational support services for post-9/11 student veterans. SIU is providing office space, marking the first time “Hope For The Warriors” will have a presence on a university campus to assist those veterans and their families.

The university has a Veterans Services office that offers assistance to all student veterans, and SIU also recently expanded services with the addition of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership (VITAL) program staff and GI Bill enrollment certification. SIU is one of more than 250 universities and colleges across the United States implementing a national eight-step program introduced recently by the Obama administration designed to help veterans achieve their education and employment goals.

The university recently earned recognition as a “Military Friendly School” for 2014 from Victory Media for a fifth consecutive year as being among the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the United States for providing educational opportunities to student military veterans and active duty personnel.