ECPI University was founded in Virginia in 1966. At the time, computers may not have been as commonplace as they are today, but the computer and information technology industries were growing rapidly, increasing the need for computer programmers and operators, as well as support professionals. Individuals with these skills were sometimes hard to find, and that’s where ECPI came onto the scene.
The school’s first students were a mix of recent high school graduates looking to train for a job in the latest technological industry and adult students searching for a career change to an industry with a future. ECPI offered these students certificate or degree programs using standard industry equipment to learn the most in-demand job skills. Students also benefited from small classes and teachers who combined both academic knowledge and hands-on experience.
ECPI later expanded to include more areas of computer technology and electronics among its programs, as well as business, nursing, and medical fields of study. The college began awarding Associate of Applied Science degrees in 1990, and Associate of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees later became available.
Today, this private technological university has grown to encompass more than 8,000 students, and in addition to its main campus in Virginia Beach, it features several other Virginia campuses in Newport News, Richmond, Innsbrook and Manassas. North Carolina locations in Greensboro, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Concord, and South Carolina campuses in Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville round out the large footprint of ECPI.
Though its overall graduation rate is reported to be slightly less than 60 percent, two reasons students choose ECPI College of Technology are its hands-on approach to learning and its flexible class schedule. The college offers on-campus courses in both day and evening, as well as a slate of online classes. Bachelor’s degrees can be earned in just two-and-a-half years, and in a year and a half, a student can earn his or her associate degree.
ECPI is institutionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and its medical assisting, medical radiography, and physical therapist assistant programs also hold accreditation of their own from various bureaus.
The university offers students the chance to take courses in its Department of Arts and Sciences or to study in one of its six schools: the School of Computer and Information Science; the School of Criminal Justice; the School of Engineering Technology; the School of Business; the School of Health Science at the Medical Careers Institute; or the School of Culinary Arts at the Culinary Institute of Virginia. The culinary arts school first opened its doors in 2006.
Computer science majors can earn associate or bachelor’s degrees in several areas of concentration, from game programming to business systems administration, while engineering students can study everything from biomedical technology to wireless systems. Health sciences concentrations include such fields as radiography and dental assisting, as well as nursing.
Online bachelor’s degrees can be earned in fields like healthcare, homeland security, IT management, or food service management. The school also features online associate degrees or diplomas in network security and electronics engineering. The school offers Cisco CCNA or CCNP certification training.
ECPI has a study abroad program, but it is limited to computer and information science majors enrolled in degree programs at the Virginia Beach campus. Students spend four weeks in the classroom and one week abroad.
Not all programs are available at all campuses.
Most Popular Fields of Study
All applicants to ECPI must have a high school diploma or a GED certificate, and they must make satisfactory financial arrangements and complete an admissions interview. Additionally, applicants must submit satisfactory entrance exam scores. An SAT score of at least 950 or an ACT score of at least 20 will satisfy admission requirements for all programs except computer programming, database programming, simulation and game programming, web development, School of Health Science programs, and bachelor of science degree programs.
High school and college transcripts and proof of entrance exam scores should be sent to ECPI directly from the respective schools or testing centers. Student copies will not be accepted.
Applicants seeking admission to a Bachelor of Science degree program, or to the computer programming, database programming, simulation and game programming, or web development programs must pass the programming test. Applicants to the practical or registered nursing, physical therapist assistant, and medical radiography programs must pass the TEAS test.
Online applicants must take ECPI’s online English and math tests. If applicants score below the required level on either test, they may still be admitted as single-subject students in either Introduction to Writing or Introduction to Mathematics, pending approval of the campus president. After successfully completing these subjects, the applicant may then enroll in a full program of study.
Online applicants who have previously applied at another ECPI ground campus may use their admissions test scores in lieu of the English or math test.
Applicants who have already earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, as well as those who scored over 100 on the AR/PC section of the ASVAB test may be accepted for all programs except those listed above without taking further admissions tests.
Some programs carry extra requirements related specifically to that field of study. The business administration program, for example, requires two professional recommendations and a personal character reference, as well as a writing sample of 500 words or less. The criminal justice program requires students to have a valid driver’s license and pass a preliminary background check.
Related skills, though not necessarily required, may be recommended for students applying to certain programs. For instance, it is recommended that applicants to a computer-related program be proficient in typing and data entry.
Most students at the various campuses receive some sort of financial aid, whether it is a federal or state grant, scholarship, loan, or another form of assistance. The first step for any student in financial need is to fill out the FAFSA form, which will determine a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid. Often, this aid comes in the form of a Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, a Pell Grant, or other government grants. Grants are gifts which do not need to be repaid, and they vary in dollar amounts. Pell Grants, for instance, can provide as much as $5,550 in financial aid per academic year, though that amount is not always awarded.
State grants function the same way but are often limited to residents of the state in which the college or university is located. State scholarships sometimes carry that same limitation but are worth looking into because, like grants, award amounts vary and do not have to be repaid.
Grants and scholarships can also come from other sources, such as corporations, foundations, private citizens, or the school itself. ECPI, for example, offers the Promise High School Achievement Scholarship, which is open to students who maintained at least a 2.2 grade-point average in high school. Scholarships may be merit-based, like the Promise Scholarship, or they may be based on a student’s prospective major, his or her affiliation with a specific group or club, or simply on financial need.
Other financial aid options include loans, which may be taken out by a student or parent and do need to be paid back, typically with interest. Cash-strapped students may also check into programs such as the Federal Work Study Program, which pays students to work at an on-campus location. Military personnel or veterans and their families may qualify for aid on the basis of their service, and some employers will offer tuition reimbursement.
Students with financial aid questions should contact ECPI’s financial aid office.
Although residence halls or dormitories are not found at the university, the Virginia Beach campus does have a housing coordinator who can help students find and set up housing at nearby apartment complexes. School representatives are also available to aid students in many other areas of college life, including providing career counseling, fairs and workshops, and helping with resume writing and interview skills. Career counselors can also help students secure externships.
Students can take advantage of valuable study resources, including a combined library of more than 65,000 books, journals, magazines, and other media. An online library can be accessed from the Student Services website and provides source materials in the form of thousands of online newspapers, magazines, videos, maps, and other informational sources.
Student Advisory Councils help students get involved in their campus and its respective extracurricular activities. Students can join several types of clubs and societies, including honor societies or clubs related to their majors. Activities and clubs vary from campus to campus.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Additional School Information
ECPI is a strong supporter of military personnel and in 2010, even won the Pro Patria Award from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. The award was given as a nod to the school’s contributions to employees serving part-time in the military.
The university also offers several benefits to students who are in the military, including service-specific degree programs, tuition assistance, scholarships, and the GI Bill. For-profit schools like ECPI benefit monetarily from the restructured GI Bill, with many enjoying a surge in military revenue. But, ECPI advises potential students who are veterans or active-duty personnel to carefully evaluate their options before enrolling.