WIU Named Best for Vets College
October 14, 2010
MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University has been selected as a "Best for Vets College" by Military Times EDGE magazine. Western, ranked 25th, is one of only two Illinois public institutions in the top 25, and is one of only three Illinois public universities, out of 101 colleges and universities, selected for the recognition.
According to the Military Times, more than 4,000 colleges and universities were invited to respond to a survey detailing programs, policies and resources for veterans. Selection criteria included financial assistance; academic flexibility; campus culture; and support services.
In addition to the Military Times recognition, for the second consecutive year, Western Illinois has been designated as a "Military Friendly School" by GI Jobs Magazine and is featured in the "Guide to Military Friendly Schools."
"Western has established a national reputation for providing exceptional academic support and services to active military personnel and veterans," said President Al Goldfarb. "I am pleased that our efforts have been recognized by Military Times and GI Jobs."
In addition to offering the Bachelor of General Studies (formerly called Bachelor of Arts/Board of Trustees) degree and flexible academic studies and support to active military personnel and veterans, for many years Western has provided the resources these men and women need upon entering – or returning to – school.
The University's Wright Residence, which serves as the Veterans Resource Center, provides streamlined services and resources in a centralized location to ensure that all veterans, guard members, reservists and active duty personnel receive individual assistance with any question or concern they may encounter. The center also sponsors a series of group seminars/workshops each year based on the current needs of its military student population.
"Prospective and returning students have used the center since its inception and the response has been overwhelming," said Kathy Meyers, assistant director of the Veterans Resource Center. "We are able to help minimize the barriers associated with transitioning to the University setting by providing necessary services and resources in a relaxed atmosphere. The center staff also assists students who are located at the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses, and throughout the world. The Veterans Resource Center connects veterans and their family members with the resources necessary to help them succeed."
The center also has in place a peer mentoring program, and has established partnerships with various campus and community organizations. Students gain direct access to a comprehensive array of services such as VA benefits, financial assistance, disability resources, health care, career development and personal wellness. The center also features computer access, a study/meeting room, a lounge and a three-season porch. Four student-veteran peer assistants work with student-veterans.
Veterans Resources has also joined forces with the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) to sponsor a service center on the WIU-Macomb campus each month. In addition, the WIU-Quad Cities campus has a partnership agreement with the Rock Island (IL) Arsenal (RIA), which allows current – and potential – college students interested in completing college proficiency exams to complete the exams at the Arsenal.
The WIU-QC exam facility, which is open to the public, is the first testing site in the Illinois Quad Cities. The agreement between Western and the Arsenal allows individuals the opportunity to complete an exam, such as a College Level Examination Program (CLEP) test, in person on Arsenal Island. A full-time WIU academic adviser, whose office is at the Arsenal, assists in administering exams, provides course and program information and advises students how to register for classes at Western.
This is the second agreement between the Arsenal and WIU-Quad Cities. In January 2008, the two entities joined forces to allow members of the RIA community to seek undergraduate and graduate degrees offered at the WIU-QC campus in accordance with a Department of Defense Directive on Voluntary Education for Military Personnel.
For more information about veterans' resources at Western Illinois University, contact Meyers at KJ-Meyers@wiu.edu or (309) 298-3505.