December 17, 2013

SIU continues to earn ‘military friendly’ honors

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale is again earning national recognition for providing outstanding educational opportunities to student military veterans and active duty personnel.

In its December issue, Military Advanced Education magazine recognized SIU Carbondale as one of the nation’s 2014 top military-friendly colleges and universities.  This the seventh year the university earned the distinction.

“We value the service and sacrifices of our veterans and the men and women on active duty,” Chancellor Rita Cheng said.  “The continuing recognition of our commitment to current and former military personnel is an honor we do not take lightly and serves as a signal of our ongoing efforts to help them achieve their goals.”

The results of the Military Advanced Education survey are available online. Nearly 500 schools responded to the questionnaire, which the magazine used to examine five categories important to service members, veterans, their spouses and dependents -- support services, flexibility, financial assistance, online support and military culture.  The survey includes public and private, for-profit and not-for-profit community colleges, universities, and online institutions.

According to the magazine, among the attributes considered in this year’s evaluation are the flexibility of online learning options, extent of transfer credits accepted by degree level, on-campus ROTC, Servicemember Opportunity Colleges (SOC) participation, on-campus active duty/veteran assistance, the support provided to the families of servicemembers, faculty trained in veteran reintegration issues, presence on military installations, and full-time counselors trained in veteran-specific mental health concerns.

Last month, Military Times Edge listed 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.

This fall, 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 was among the first universities in the nation to offer off-campus academic programs to military personnel, beginning in 1973 at Scott Air Force Base. 

More information on the university’s Veterans Services office is available at and on programming at distance education and off-campus programs.