November 06, 2015

SIU again honored for commitment to military

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale continues to earn recognition for providing outstanding educational opportunities to student military veterans and active duty personnel both inside and outside the classroom. 

Victory Media this week named the university a “Military Friendly School” for 2016. The list honors universities, colleges, community colleges and trade schools in the United States “that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success both in the classroom and after graduation.” 

SIU Carbondale has earned “Military Friendly School” status in each of the seven years that 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, the university veterans’ services coordinator, said the external evaluation looks at a number of institutional measures including degrees offered, student-to-faculty ratio, class size and cost. The evaluation also considers factors including admission policies for veteran students, specific programs to assist with transition and student success for military/veteran students, and services for military family members. 

“The real value of being recognized as Military Friendly School is the opportunity to take a hard look at policies and actions to make sure our efforts are targeted at student success,” Copeland said. “SIU Carbondale is a very student-friendly institution.  The resources that are already in place to advise and assist students from varied backgrounds make it relatively easy for me to assist veteran students by connecting them with fellow students, academic support, family support, wellness, employment opportunities and career resources.” 

Copeland added the university is fortunate to have the Veterans Integrated to Academic Leadership (VITAL) program, which places a Veterans Administration social worker and peer support specialist on campus to work with veteran students. There is also an active student veteran organization, which is a member of the national Student Veterans of American organization. 

Institutions completed a survey of more 100 questions covering 10 categories, including military support on campus, graduation and employment outcomes, and military spouse policies, according to Victory Media.  

This fall, the university is serving 582 student military veterans on the Carbondale campus. In addition, the university serves 365 active-duty personnel at 20 off-campus military base locations in 13 states, and 206 online distance-learning students. 

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.