September 10, 2013

University again earns military-friendly honors

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale continues to show its strength in providing outstanding educational opportunities to student military veterans and active duty personnel.

Victory Media on Tuesday (Sept. 10) named the university as a “Military Friendly School” for 2014.  The list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the United States “that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.”

SIU Carbondale has earned “Military Friendly School” status in each of the five years Victory Media, whose publications include G.I. Jobs magazine, has published the rankings. The recognition highlights the university’s continuing efforts to assist both student military veterans and active-duty military personnel.

“SIU is extremely dedicated to helping veterans as well as the men and women on active duty serving our country,” said SIU Chancellor Rita Cheng.  “Our repeated designation as a military friendly school is a signal to current and former military personnel that we understand their needs and care about helping them achieve their goals.”

The university is among the 1,868 colleges, universities and trade schools on the list that “exhibit leading practices in the recruitment and retention of students with military experience. These schools have world-class programs and policies for student support on campus, accreditation, credit policies, flexibility and other services to those who serve,” according to Victory Media.  The list is an extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 10,000 schools nationwide approved for tuition funding by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sean Collins, vice president at Victory Media and a nine-year U.S. Navy veteran, said being included on the list shows SIU Carbondale’s “commitment to providing a supportive environment for military students.”

“The need for education is growing and our mission is to provide the military community with transparent, world-class resources to assist in their search for schools,” he said.

This fall, the university is serving approximately 700 student military veterans on the Carbondale campus. There are 245 veterans and 57 family members attending SIU on the Post-9/11 GI Bill.  In addition, the University serves active-duty personnel at 21 off-campus military base locations in 13 states.

SIU Carbondale has a longstanding commitment to provide outstanding educational opportunities to active duty personnel and student military veterans.  The University, among the first in the nation to offer off-campus academic programs to military personnel, is celebrating its 40th year with a commitment beginning in 1973 at Scott Air Force Base.

The university is also one of more than 250 universities and colleges across the United States implementing a national, eight-step program designed to help veterans achieve their education and employment goals introduced recently by the Obama Administration.

In December 2012, the university also earned top status as being among the nation’s top military-friendly colleges and universities from Military Advanced Education magazine.  In 2010, the university earned the inaugural Governor’s Award for Excellence in Veterans Education, recognizing SIU Carbondale’s efforts to enhance the educational experiences of student military veterans.