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Eastern ranks high in ‘Best Colleges for Veterans’

Published on September 17, 2021

Eastern ranks high in ‘Best Colleges for Veterans’

Veteran Katherine Platt explains why Eastern is top-ranked public regional university in New England

Katherine Platt
National Guard Veteran Katherine Platt

Eastern Connecticut State University was recognized as one of the best colleges for veterans in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 rankings, released Sept. 13. While Eastern is the 36th ranked institution overall in the North’s “Regional Universities” category, it is the first ranked public institution in all of New England — sharing the top spot with Westfield State University in Massachusetts.

U.S. News & World Report publishes its Best Colleges for Veterans rankings to provide veterans and active-duty service members with data on the best schools that make pursuing a college education more accessible and affordable.

National Guard veteran and sophomore Katherine Platt benefited firsthand from the accessibility of Eastern. After serving two years in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, she returned to Connecticut amid the upheaval of the pandemic. Platt, 20, of Enfield, applied to many colleges around the state for a second semester admission — she was even carrying credits from advanced placement courses as well as military training programs — but was not admitted; her case dismissed as being too complicated to transfer in.

Then she called Eastern. “The people I spoke with at Eastern were the ray of hope in my college career,” she said. “The veterans office was so nice. They said ‘What do you mean? We will absolutely take you!’”

Eastern currently enrolls more than 100 veterans and active-duty service members. A big part of their success is the university’s VETS Center—Veterans Education and Transition Services. Located in the Wood Support Services building and founded in 2009, the center fosters a community of likeminded students, offers a quiet study space and lounge, and provides resources to help veterans through their unique student experience.

Platt now works part time at the VETS Center, helping to counsel current and prospective military students on Eastern’s offerings. “I tell them, ‘Listen, this office will have your back,’” she said. “A lot of other colleges wait to the last minute to do federal paperwork and in our office, we certify (students) as soon as we can.

“Eastern in general is a very military-friendly campus,” she continued. “If you have drill and things to do, they understand. And Eastern has a huge variety of majors, which is good for people like me who didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do when I came here.”

Army veteran and junior Tyson Trainer concurs. “I like how small the campus is and how small the class sizes are,” said the sport and leisure management major from Mason City, IA. “I just like how the faculty is understanding if I have VA appointments or military trainings I have to attend.”

In order to be ranked in the 2022 Best Colleges for Veterans rankings, schools must be GI certified and provide services tailored to veterans’ financial aid needs, among other criteria.

According to Jennifer Brown, dean of academic analytics, inclusion in the list “demonstrates Eastern’s commitment to ensuring veteran men and women have the support they need to excel in higher education.”


Written by Mike Rouleau