ECU ranked a go-to school for service members and their families

East Carolina University has been ranked among the nation’s best again this year in the Military Times’ 2023 Best for Vets Colleges.

ECU was No. 24 in the Southeast and No. 110 overall in the new ranking. This year, 325 schools made the list — an increase of 5% from last year.

“Being ranked as a Best for Vets school recognizes that ECU values our military-affiliated students and has supports and programs in place to ensure that our students can reach their academic and professional goals,” said Dr. Nicole Messina, director of the ECU Military & Veterans Resource Center and associate director of intercultural affairs.

Each year, the Military Times surveys U.S. colleges and universities about programs for veterans. The responses are analyzed along with public data obtained from the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Veterans Affairs. The result is the largest and most comprehensive annual ranking of schools for military service members and veterans, according to a Military Times news release.

“The rankings have become a go-to resource for schools to spread the word about their veteran programs and help veterans make important decisions about their educational planning and how to use the education benefits they earned through military service,” said Mike Gruss, editor-in-chief of Sightline Media Group, parent company of Military Times.

ECU’s Military & Veterans Resource Center (MVRC) connects military-affiliated students with campus, community and federal resources. The center, previously in Mendenhall, had a ribbon-cutting on Friday for its new, larger space in Room 282 in the Main Campus Student Center. The center provides a physical space for studying, a social area, kitchen and wellness room. It also provides mentoring and counseling on Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs benefits and financial aid.

ECU students welcome guests in the new Military & Veterans Resource Center in the Main Campus Student Center.

ECU students welcome guests in the new Military & Veterans Resource Center in the Main Campus Student Center.

“We provide holistic services to support the transition of our student veterans as they get out of the military, into higher education, and then as they get ready to graduate and into their new career,” Messina said. “We offer a veteran specific orientation, COAD 1000, the Truist Veterans Leadership Academy, women specific veteran programming, a Veteran Graduate Recognition Celebration and social programming. We are also fortunate to have some very generous donors who allow us to provide scholarships and assist with the cost of textbooks.”

ECU offers flexible degree programs, VA work-study assistance, Air Force and Army ROTC programs, and the Pirate Veterans Organization for students. All active-duty service members and veterans receive priority class registration.

ECU’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 600 is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. It’s the second largest detachment in the state of North Carolina. At ECU, Army ROTC students have opportunities to participate in Color Guard, Cannon Team, Ranger Challenge Team and other morale activities. Students also have access to ECU’s world-class obstacle training course and rappelling stations on the West Research Campus.

The MVRC offers Green Zone training, a two-hour course for faculty and staff on being a supportive and knowledgeable contact for military-affiliated students at ECU, helping to create a veteran-friendly environment for student success.

In 2021, ECU opened an office at the Jerry Marvel Training and Education building at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, offering active-duty personnel, reservists, eligible retired military personnel and Department of Defense employees and their families face-to-face communications and opportunities to take some classes through the Department of Technology Systems.

The 2023 rankings can be found on the Military Times Best for Vets website.