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MCEC is the national advocate for Purple Star Schools, a program that supports military-connected children as they relocate to new schools due to a parent’s change in duty station. 

Military children move every two to three years. The Purple Star School program is designed to help schools respond to the educational and social-emotional challenges military-connected children face during their transition to a new school and keep them on track to be college, workforce, and life-ready. Military-connected refers to children of service members on active duty, and in the National Guard and Reserves. 

MCEC is the nation’s most complete resource for states seeking to start a Purple Star School program. We stand ready to offer guidance and serve in a consultative role every step of the way. As of October 10, 2023, 38 states have received Purple Star School designation, and four states have proposed/pending legislation:

Purple Star School Map

To better understand the landscape around and impact of the Purple Star program, MCEC partnered with the Center for Public Research and Leadership at Columbia University (CPRL) in 2020 to conduct a study of the program across four states. In 2021, CPRL and MCEC released a summary report of findings related to the landscape of the program, including recommendations for improvements at the school, district, and state levels. Read the original report here.

A new 2022 report builds on the findings from the 2021 summary and provides additional detail on how the program has been implemented over time. It specifically focuses on how the program has evolved and how stakeholders have worked to ensure rigor and sustainability. 


Drawing on research across six focus states, this report reviews the benefits of, and challenges associated with program requirements, provides insights on program administration at various levels, discusses the effects of COVID-19 on PSS, and provides recommendations at the state, district, and school levels to improve and expand the initiative. 

Read the 2022 Purple Star Research Reports here:





Once your state begins a program, we also offer support to individual schools seeking designation as a Purple Star School. 

Learn more about Purple Star Schools and how your state can begin the process below. And if you have any questions, please contact Amanda Woodyard, MCEC Vice President of Education Services. She is available at

MCEC Issue Paper: Purple Star School Designation Program  
Click here to Download


Suggested Use for Military Student Indentifier Code
Click here to Download FAQ


Virtual Town Hall  | Recorded on October 6, 2020
Learn How to Launch a Purple Star School Program 
Click here to View Recording

Collegiate Purple Star Award

The Collegiate Purple Star designation is awarded to colleges and universities in Ohio that are supportive and inclusive of military-connected students. The latest round of awardees was announced on November 8, 2023, and the following five campuses received the designation:

  1. Central Ohio Technical College

  2. Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

  3. North Central State College

  4. Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED)

  5. University of Northwestern Ohio


Please note that the list of awardees is subject to change as more colleges and universities apply for the designation.

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