CHICAGO – August 7, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today signed into law a bill that provides greater educational and informational resources for veterans attending Illinois public colleges and universities.
“This legislation provides our student veterans with the needed information, assistance and guidance they deserve,” said Governor Quinn. “It is necessary that we take care of these fine men and women who have served our country proudly and ensure they are aware of the resources and benefits that are available to them to further their education.”
The Higher Education Veterans Service Act will require schools to create, publish and distribute a comprehensive guide of services available specifically to veterans at their institutions. The bill also requires schools with 1,000 or more full-time students to appoint a coordinator to act as a liaison between administrators and student veterans.
Senate Bill 1624 was sponsored by Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) and Rep. Mark Walker (D-Arlington Heights).
Within 60 days, schools must produce a comprehensive guide to services and post the information online. The measure is effective immediately.
Within six months, schools with 1,000 or more full-time students must appoint a Coordinator of Veterans and Military Personnel Student Services. The Coordinator will serve as an ombudsman to assist student veterans, military personnel and their families, and also act as a liaison and advocate with the college or university for the needs of student veterans.
“Many public and private universities have already gone above and beyond to serve veteran populations, and we hope this will further encourage best practices for student veterans throughout our state,” said Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Dan Grant.
Governor Quinn was joined at the bill signing ceremony held at the University of Illinois at Chicago by UIC Dean of Students Linda Deanna; Dr. Randy Plunkett, National Director of Military Affairs for DeVry University; and Robert Malnik, Illinois State Director for Student Veterans of America.