Willimantic, Conn. – Eastern Connecticut State University is the ninth highest ranked public institution in the north when it comes to being a “Best College for Veterans,” according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2015 rankings. With more than 600 students who are self-identified veterans, active military or reserves servicemembers, Eastern provides an inviting culture and range of resources for this population of students.
The Vet Center has a study area and lounge, and hosts social events and family programs. Because veterans often face additional challenges as students—such as post-traumatic stress disorder or families to support—the center organizes trainings for faculty to teach them about this dynamic student group. Situated in Willimantic, a town with a large veteran population, the Vet Center works as a link to the community, connecting students to the local American Legion and Veterans Affairs offices.
“There’s a real strong camaraderie at Eastern that I haven’t seen anywhere else since being out of service,” said Kevin Lacey, an environmental earth science major who concluded his service in 2013. A student worker, Lacey occasionally gives tours of campus. “A lot of students say Eastern’s accommodations for vets is the deal maker.” A transfer student himself, he said, “In addition to the EES major, the vet center here won me over.”
At Eastern’s Center for Internships and Career Development is a representative who helps veterans job hunt and incorporate military experience into resumes. Student vets and servicemembers also have access to on-campus mental health services. Eastern is also a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) consortium and certified to receive the GI Bill.