Eastern Illinois University has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report for its commitment to military veterans.
The magazine’s “2015 Best Colleges” rankings, published annually, list Eastern as the No. 13 “Best College for Veterans” among Midwestern regional universities (public and private). EIU was the second highest ranked public university on the list.
The region encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
“Our veterans have nobly served our nation, and we are proud to support them by providing excellent programs and services at EIU to begin or continue their university studies,” said EIU President Bill Perry. “I’m pleased that U.S. News has chosen to recognize those efforts.”
Schools listed in the U.S. News & World Report rankings were described as institutions that participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active-duty service members apply for, pay for and complete their degree.
To be eligible for the list, Eastern needed to be certified for the GI Bill, be a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium and, as a public institute, charge in-state tuition, which can be fully covered by the GI Bill, to all veterans applying from out of state.
Eastern offers nearly 50 majors from which its students can choose from. Eastern’s School of Continuing Education also allows veterans, active-duty military and other non-traditional students the option of receiving academic credit for life work and experiences. The school’s General Studies Program was specifically designed to meet varying educational goals.
“This can be advantageous for some of our military students who can ask for credit based on what they did professionally before and during their service to our country,” said Kimberlie Moock, director of New Student Programs (which includes the university’s Military Student Assistance Center).
Eastern’s practice of charging in-state tuition to student veterans from outside of Illinois began in August 2013 after Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law House Bill 2353, “Higher Ed-Military-Tuition.” Under that legislation, any person utilizing benefits under the federal Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 20008 or any subsequent variation of that Act, can be considered an Illinois resident for tuition purposes.
The U.S. News & World Report recognition follows Eastern’s receipt of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education, presented two years ago by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. That award recognized the professional and constructive efforts of EIU to support its student veterans, according to then-IDVA Director Erica Borggren.
In addition to being named a “Best College for Veterans,” U.S. News & World Report also ranked No. 4 among the Midwest’s top public regional universities (up from No. 7 a year ago), and No. 31 -- up from 36 in 2013 -- among all Midwestern regional universities offering a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs.