Ray Schroeder, associate vice chancellor for online learning at the University of Illinois Springfield recently testified before a forum called by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago.
The purpose of the forum was to examine aggressive recruiting and marketing tactics practiced by some members of the for-profit college industry to target service members and veterans. Schroeder provided perspective on the positive ways public universities, such as UIS, are serving members of the military though online learning.
“I teach online every semester and most summers. I have had many students over the past decade taking classes while deployed in combat zones,” Schroeder testified. “As is the case with all of my colleagues, I accommodate students’ schedules, which can be unpredictable at times in military service.”
Schroeder noted that a number of National Guard men and women who have begun classes at UIS, while residing in central Illinois, have completed their semester while stationed abroad.
“UIS has a veteran and military coordinator who is a veteran herself,” said Schroeder. “We have a military benefits specialist in our registration and financial aid office. All of the program coordinators work closely with these specialists to assure that their students receive all of the benefits to which they are entitled.”
UIS currently offer nine master’s degree programs, eight baccalaureate degree completion programs, and a number of professional certificate programs online. This past fall semester UIS served 1,425 online degree and certificate seeking students through online programs.
“Our online programs are noted nationally for excellence in online teaching and learning, student engagement and success in degree completion,” said Schroeder.
During the forum, Senator Durbin discussed legislation he intends to introduce when he returns to Washington that will reduce incentives for for-profit colleges to target and aggressively recruit service members and veterans.