Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) ranks first in Kentucky in the 2023 Best for Vets: Colleges. Additionally, EKU came in as the No. 4 best college for military service members and veterans in Appalachia.
According to Military Times, the Best for Vets: Colleges is the largest and most comprehensive annual ranking of schools for military service members and veterans. To determine rankings, Military Times reviews survey results from colleges and universities across the nation, along with public data about colleges and universities obtained from the Department of Education and the Department of Veterans Affairs. For 2023, 325 schools were ranked.
“Whether you're coming here to go to school or whether you're simply traveling through, you cannot miss that you are at the institution that is the Best for Vets,” said EKU President David McFaddin during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly upgraded Veterans Memorial at EKU. “We are number one in Kentucky for serving those who have served our country and serving their families. Serving those who have served us is not just what we do; it’s who we are.”
Veterans, military members and their families account for 10% of the entire student body, making it the largest affinity student population on EKU’s campus. With a long-standing reputation of supporting student veterans, EKU’s Office of Military and Veteran Affairs (OMVA) provides veterans with resources to succeed in their academic and professional careers, including:
The 3,000-square-foot Veterans Education and Transition Support (VETS) Center, a multipurpose campus space to support student veterans physically and emotionally.
The VETS|ReadyⓇ Opportunity Portal, a public user-friendly tool that prospective students can use to enter their branch, rank and dates of training to receive a personalized report of credits that will transfer to EKU and requirements that may be needed to graduate.
Kit Carson Commons Scholar House, located on EKU’s campus, prioritizing affordable housing and workforce development for single-parent military service members and veterans enrolled in an approved post-secondary institution.
Participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program, designed to aid student veterans financially with higher education.
The Service to Scholars Peer Sponsorship Program, which pairs new, incoming students with experienced student veterans. The peer program offers an academic and social support network to help new students excel in their classes, gain awareness of campus and academic resources, and develop a sense of community in their new environment, guided by military students who have had similar life experiences.
Showing continued support for EKU’s veterans community, the university relocated and renovated its Veterans Memorial. The new memorial in the Carloftis Garden allows campus community members and visitors to have a more spacious and accessible venue to remember EKU’s fallen veterans. Over 150 people attended the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the Veterans Memorial on Nov. 4, 2023. The memorial displays the American flag and the service flags to represent the branches of the military; a granite slate with the inscribed names of those who have given their lives while serving; benches dedicated by veterans and their families; and the Fallen Soldier Cross sculpture.
Nationwide, EKU ranked in the top 25 schools in the Best for Vets: Colleges. EKU has received other accolades for its dedication to veterans education, including No. 3 in the nation for Military FriendlyⓇ Schools for the past two years, and recently, No. 2 for Military Spouse FriendlyⓇ Schools.
“These rankings, once again, prove EKU's consistency in providing first-class care for our military, veterans and military-affiliated students,” said LTC Vincent Thomas, EKU’s OMVA director. “Securing this national recognition was no surprise—EKU’s leadership and the OMVA team are committed to making our students a priority and providing the best higher education possible while honoring their service and sacrifice.”