August 17, 2009

SIUC named ‘Military Friendly School for 2010’

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s success in providing educational opportunities to members of the nation’s military and veterans continues to receive recognition.

G.I. Jobs magazine today (Aug. 17) named the University as a “Military Friendly School for 2010.” According to the magazine, the list honors the top 15 percent of more than 7,000 colleges, universities and trades schools in the nation “which are doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students.”

This is the University’s fourth honor in recent years for the help and educational opportunities it provides to military personnel. In December, the Military Advanced Education magazine listed the University as one of the nation’s 2008 top 20 military friendly colleges and universities. The magazine also honored the University on two other occasions for being in the top 40.

“We continue to be among the top nationwide,” said Thomas H. Beebe, director of SIUC’s Office of Military Programs.

“We follow the rules. We are extremely student-friendly. We are veteran-friendly and that shows through with our dealings with veterans, whether it’s here on campus or off-campus,” Beebe said.

SIUC’s Office of Military Programs coordinates the activities of the University’s three colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees to active duty military and reserve personnel, their families, retirees, and at some locations, community members. Started in 1973 at Scott Air Force Base, the program is now at 39 military and civilian locations in 16 states: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

The award is significant because it shows the overwhelming support veterans receive both on campus and in the off-campus programs, Beebe said.

“When a veteran is looking at an institution they are looking for someplace they can go that is going to care about them,” Beebe said. “We are an institution that is going to care about them and is here to help them.

“You can buy your way to the top, I suppose, by buying enough advertising. But we have never bought any advertisements in these magazines,” he said. “We’ve never paid to get our way up there. We have always been at the top because of the services that we give to veterans. In that, I take a lot of pride.”

Word-of-mouth from one veteran to the next is the best advertisement available, Beebe said. The University has the single largest number of veterans of any state institution in Illinois, and that does not include off-campus veterans, he said.

The Military Friendly Schools list is designed to be a resource for veterans deciding where to go to school.

“This list is especially important now because the recently enacted Post-9/11 GI Bill has given veterans virtually unlimited financial means to go to school,” said Rich McCormack, G.I. Jobs publisher, in a news release. The list is available at

Research for the list started in May 2008, with methodology, criteria and weighting developed with the help of educators and administrators from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Toledo, Duquesne University, Coastline Community College, and Lincoln Technical Institute, according to the magazine.

Performance areas examined include a school’s non-financial efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students, such as Veterans’ Administration-approval to accept the G.I. Bill, flexible learning programs, tuition benefits, overall recruitment budget allocated to recruiting military students, numbers and percentages of military and veteran students enrolled, and a school’s academic accreditations.

Last fall, 1,542 students enrolled in the six degree programs via three of SIUC’s colleges. Beebe anticipates enrollment numbers could be higher this fall.

The College of Applied Sciences and Arts offers degrees in health care management, aviation management, electronic systems technologies and fire service management. The College of Engineering offers a degree in industrial technology, and the College of Education and Human Services offers a degree in workforce education and development.

Each college appoints a director to oversee the day-to-day academic matters.

More information on veterans services offered at SIUC is available at More information on the University’s Office of Military Programs is available at