September 23, 2014

SIU again earns ‘military friendly’ award

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale is again recognized for providing outstanding educational opportunities to student military veterans and active duty personnel both inside and outside the classroom. 

Victory Media today (Sept. 23) named the university as a “Military Friendly School” for 2015.  The list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the United States “that are doing the most to embrace America’s military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation.” 

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

Paul S. Copeland, SIU Carbondale veterans services coordinator, said he is always pleased when external reviews find “we are doing the right things to support veterans and military family members with their academic pursuits.” 

The list is an extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 8,000 schools nationwide approved for Post-9/11 GI Bill funding. 

Several factors go into earning the “military friendly” designation, Copeland said. Those include academic success, a supportive campus culture, transition support for veterans and connections with outside resource providers. There are U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs employees on campus to assist students, including the first VA chaplain on a college campus. There are plans to implement a peer adviser program for veteran students transitioning from military service. 

“Like life, this is a journey rather than a destination,” Copeland said.  “We can’t ever rest on our laurels or previous recognition and we are always on the lookout for new and better ways to support student success.” 

This fall, the university is serving 643 student military veterans on the Carbondale campus. 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 was among the first in the nation to offer off-campus academic programs to military personnel in 1973 at Scott Air Force Base. 

Earlier this month, SIU Carbondale received the spring 2014 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Veteran Education, the only two-time recipient. The university received the inaugural award in 2010. The award recognizes the university’s efforts to enhance the educational experiences of student military veterans. 

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. 

More information on the university’s Veterans Services office is available at and on extended campus programming at