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U.S. News & World Report ranks Eastern as top public regional university in New England for the third year in a row

Published on September 13, 2021

U.S. News & World Report ranks Eastern as top public regional university in New England for the third year in a row

Eastern also ranked for affordability and service to veterans

Campus entrance For the third year in a row, Eastern Connecticut State University was ranked as the top public regional university in New England by U.S. News & World Report in its annual report of the best universities in America. Within the North Region spanning from Maine to Pennsylvania and Maryland, the media organization also ranked Eastern in the top 25 public regional universities. Eastern’s dedication to service to its veterans was also recognized along with its affordability.

“Being ranked so highly again by U.S. News and World Report is a testament to the personal commitment our faculty and staff have in serving our students and maintaining the quality of our academic programs,” said Eastern President Elsa M. Núñez. “Being the number one ranked public regional university in New England three years in a row is especially gratifying during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it speaks to the consistency of our services and the resilience of our faculty, staff and students. I am particularly proud of Eastern’s affordability and our ranking in service to veterans – the men and women who keep our nation safe.”

Students walking Eastern was the only public regional university in Connecticut to be included in the Best Colleges for Veterans category in the North Region as highlighted in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 rankings. Released on Sept. 13, the report also shows that Eastern is again ranked as the top public regional university in New England for the third consecutive year. Eastern also was the only Connecticut public regional university included in the news organization’s North Region list of “best value” schools.

That commitment to caring for veterans was a major reason Eastern sophomore Katherine Platt came to the University after serving two years in the Army National Guard in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. “All my friends had already gone off to college,” said Platt, and she wanted to go too. Platt applied to many colleges around the state for a second semester admission. Though she was bringing in several college transfer credits from high school and military training programs, many programs did not want to admit her, saying it was too complicated to transfer her credits.

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

At this time in history, colleges that are welcoming to veterans are doing the right thing. “Coming on the heels of the 20th anniversary of September 11 and the return of soldiers from Afghanistan, veterans need welcoming institutions like Eastern to help them continue their education and thrive,” said Núñez.

Recognitions such as the “Best Value” designation send a clear message to potential Eastern students and their parents. “Ranking systems like this provide families with the ability to make data-informed decisions when it comes to higher education,” said Jennifer Brown, dean of academic analytics. “In particular, Eastern’s ranking among Top Value Schools in the North signals to parents that the University is committed to its mission to provide Eastern students with a transformative liberal arts experience that is accessible to students from all backgrounds.” The second Connecticut university on the list is a private college.

The “Best Value” ranking considers academic quality relative to the overall costs of attending a college or university and also factors in how much financial aid is provided students. Colleges selected for their service to veterans are evaluated on their affordability, benefits to veterans and enrollment of veteran students.

Platt now works in the University’s Veteran’s Affairs Office and regularly counsels veterans who call asking about what Eastern has to offer. “I tell them, ‘Listen, this office will have your back,’” Platt 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. 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; I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do when I came here.”

Written by Ed Osborn