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Chris Castle (left), president of the Black Hills State University Vets Club, and Chris Bailey, an officer in the BHSU Vets Club, are among the many at BHSU students who are or have served in the military.

Black Hills State University was named to the 2012 list of Military Friendly Schools by G.I. Jobs. This list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s service members and veterans as students.

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 at the University Center – Rapid City.

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

There are several BHSU students among the 842nd National Guard Engineering Unit which is being deployed. The University is working with these students to ensure they can reach their educational goals.

In its continuing effort to help student veterans find the right school, G.I. Jobs incorporated a survey of student veterans for the first time this year. This feedback provides prospective military students with insight into the student veteran experience at a particular institution based on peer reviews and can be viewed on the web site. Michael Dakduk, Executive Director for the Student Veterans of America, agrees. “The Military Friendly Schools list is the go-to resource for prospective student veterans searching for schools that provide the greatest opportunity and overall experience. Nothing is more compelling than actual feedback from current student veterans.”

The 2012 list of Military Friendly Schools was compiled through extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 8,000 schools nationwide. The 1,518 colleges, universities and trade schools on this year’s list prioritize the recruitment of students with military experience. These schools are making the grade by offering scholarships and discounts, veterans’ clubs, full-time staff, military credit and other services to those who served. Methodology, criteria and weighting for the list were developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Board (AAB) consisting of educators from schools across the country. A full list of board members can be found at http://militaryfriendlyschools.com/Article/advisory-board/.