Last year's homecoming theme was Operation Swarm Days in recognition of the service men and women of the 842nd National Guard unit, many of whom are current and former BHSU students. For the fourth consecutive year BHSU has been named to the Military Friendly Schools list by G.I. Jobs.
Black Hills State University has been named to the 2014 list of Military Friendly Schools by Victory Media, a veteran-owned business and publisher of G.I Jobs and the Guide to Military Friendly Schools. This is the fourth consecutive year the University has been on the list which recognizes the top 15 percent of higher educational institutions nationwide that are most dedicated to supporting America’s service members and veterans as students.

BHSU, which has the highest percentage of veteran students among South Dakota schools, has a long history of working with the military to provide educational options for veterans and active duty military people. 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, and earlier this spring helped open a new Veterans Resource Center at the Rapid City location. Many veterans and students that are currently in the military also attend classes on the BHSU campus in Spearfish.

The University provides many services to veteran students. Last year, BHSU also opened a new Vets Center on the main campus. The Vets Center provides a relaxing atmosphere to study and socialize. It serves students who are veterans, those currently serving in the military, and their dependents. The center provides support services, program information, and a location for these students to network. This will in turn create opportunities for peer support and mentoring. The biweekly meetings of the Vets Club are also held at the Center. The BHSU Vets Club is also a member of Student Veterans of America (SVA).

BHSU provides veteran students and those currently serving in the military with various financial opportunities. For example, the Student Success Center currently employs veteran students, providing them with a source of income and a flexible schedule that will not interfere with their educational goals. A BHSU alum has also set up an endowment with the BHSU Foundation, specifically for qualifying veteran students.

There are several BHSU students among the 842nd National Guard Engineering Unit which was deployed September 2011. Following deployment, BHSU worked with Friends of the 842nd to send care packages to the soldiers in Afghanistan. Last fall, the University helped celebrate the return of the 842nd.

The 2014 list of Military Friendly Schools was compiled through extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 12,000 VA-approved schools nationwide. The more than 1,700 colleges, universities and trade schools on this year’s list exhibit leading practices in the recruitment and retention 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. The survey tabulation process, methodology and weightings that comprise the 2014 list were independently verified by Ernst and Young LLP. Each year schools taking the survey are held to a higher standard than the previous year via improved methodology, criteria and weightings developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Board (AAB) consisting of educators from schools across the country. For more information go to www.militaryfriendlyschools.com.