GODFREY — For the sixth consecutive year, Lewis and Clark Community College has been named to the Military Friendly Schools list.
The list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.
“We are very proud to be recognized for our commitment to helping military and veteran students achieve their education goals,” said Terry Lane, director of Career and Veteran Services at L&C and a veteran himself. “Their representation in the student body continues to increase, and we continue to explore ways to address and anticipate their needs.”
Institutions completed a survey of more than 100 questions that spanned 10 categories, including military support on campus, graduation and employment outcomes and military spouse policies, on which they were judged.
L&C offers a variety of services and benefits to veterans and their families. L&C’s Veterans Services office serves more than 370 military and veteran students, their spouses and their dependents each semester. These groups receive assistance with a variety of state and VA education benefits such as the Montgomery GI Bill, the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment and Dependents’ Educational Assistance, as well as information on employment, physical and mental health, campus events and community agencies offering services.
The Veterans Club also serves military and veteran students as well as any student interested in the club and its activities. The club sponsors blood drives, collects shoes and eyeglasses for re-use, conducts fundraisers and donates to campus and community activities such as the veteran memorials in Edwardsville and Wood River.
A Veterans Resource Center has been established on the third floor of Baldwin Hall on L&C’s Godfrey campus. The center provides computers, a TV and resource materials in a relaxed atmosphere where veterans can study or talk with peers. Madison County Veterans Assistance Commission, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and VA Vet Center veteran representatives also utilize the center for meeting with students.
College and Foundation Board Member Dwight Werts and his wife, Cheryl, have made a significant contribution to establish a Veterans Emergency Fund for L&C military and veteran students. The Werts family originally donated $10,000 to establish the loan fund, which was matched with a $10,000 contribution from the President’s Circle, a giving society of the L&C Foundation, for this growing student population.
“The Veterans Emergency Loan Fund has time and time again made a huge difference for veteran students and their families,” Lane said. “Without this fund, many veterans would not be able to get their books, buy gas or food, pay rent, etc. The fund literally means the difference between going to school and not being able to attend.”
The Military Friendly website, www.militaryfriendly.com, features the list of schools, interactive tools and search functionality to help military and veteran students and spouses find the best school to suit their needs and preferences. The colleges, universities and trade schools on this year’s list exhibit leading practices in the recruitment and retention of students with military experience.
“Post-secondary institutions earning the 2016 Military Friendly School award have exceptionally strong programs for transitioning service members and spouses,” said Daniel Nichols, chief product officer of Victory Media and Navy Reserve veteran. “Our Military Friendly Schools are truly aligning their military programs and services with employers to help students translate military experience, skills and training into successful careers after graduation.”