Black Hills State University President Kay Schallenkamp, center, accepts a plaque recognizing BHSU as a 2011 Military Friendly School. Also pictured left to right, Kim Nida, BHSU financial services representative; BHSU student Billy Heisinger, human services major from Whitewood; Tyrel Boettcher, a new BHSU student from Sturgis; and Mike McNeil, BHSU student life representative. This award is presented to the top 15 percent of schools throughout the nation recognizing their outstanding commitment to providing services for veterans.

Black Hills State University was named to the 2011 list of Military Friendly Schools this week. The list honors the top 15 percent of higher education institutions which are doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students.

G.I. Jobs announced the release of its 2011 list of Military Friendly Schools at www.militaryfriendly

“It is an honor to be included on the list of the top military friendly schools, “ BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp says. “We have a legacy of providing services and options to military service people. This designation reinforces our commitment to continuing and enhancing friendly military policies.”

“The Military Friendly Schools list is the gold standard in letting veterans know which schools will offer them the greatest opportunity, flexibility and overall experience,” says Derek Blumke, president of Student Veterans of America and a member of the list’s Academic Advisory Board.

BHSU has a long history of working with the military to provide options for veterans and active duty military people to earn their degree. For more than 50 years, BHSU taught courses on the Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City. BHSU now offers more than 100 courses every semester in Rapid City. Construction is underway on the new University Center – Rapid City near Exit 61 in Rapid City.

Many veterans and active military people also attend BHSU classes in Spearfish. The University has provides services and advising to veteran students. The Vet’s Club, which was very active in the 70s, is making a resurgence on campus as the number of veterans increases.

BHSU offers 63 bachelor degree options, four master degree programs, 20 pre-professional areas of study and four associate degree programs. BHSU developed a master’s degree that is available entirely online to accommodate needs of active duty military people and veterans. The master’s in Strategic Leadership, which is open to civilian students as well, is designed to prepare students for executive-level leadership positions and foster career advancement in government, businesses, non-profit organizations, and the military.

Schools on the 2011 Military Friendly list range from state universities and private colleges to community colleges and trade schools.

“This list is especially important now because the Post-9/11 GI Bill has given veterans virtually unlimited financial means to go to school,” said Rich McCormack, G.I. Jobs publisher. “Veterans can now enroll in any school, provided they’re academically qualified. Veterans need a trusted friend to help them decide where to get educated. The Military Friendly Schools list is that trusted friend.”

The list was compiled through exhaustive research starting last April during which G.I. Jobs polled more than 7,000 schools nationwide. Methodology, criteria and weighting for the list were developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Board. Criteria for making the Military Friendly Schools list included efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students, results in recruiting military and veteran students and academic accreditations.

For details contact Mike McNeil, student life representative, at 642-6099, or Kim Nida, financial services representative, at 642-6113, or visit www.BHSU.edu/Veterans.