Military friendly online colleges provide financial, academic, and transition programs to help meet the unique needs of veterans and military personnel.
Students considering attending online colleges for military personnel at the undergraduate level typically need to hold a high school diploma or equivalent and submit transcripts. They may also need to submit standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and/or an essay. Some programs also require applicants to meet a minimum GPA.
This guide ranks the best online colleges for military personnel and veterans. It also covers information on financial aid opportunities for military and veteran students.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that bachelor's degree-holders earn significantly higher median weekly salaries than workers without the degree. Earning a bachelor's during or after military service gives veterans and military personnel the knowledge and skill set they need to smoothly transition into civilian life.
Is Online College the Right Choice for Military Personnel?
Yes, many schools offer online programs that allow military students to earn a degree from where they are stationed.
The best online college for veterans depends on the needs and interests of each student. However, ideal schools typically offer financial, academic, and transition programs catered to the unique needs of this student population.
Yes, the VA offers several financial assistance programs that veterans can use to help pay for their education.
All types of schools recognized by the Department of Education accept military tuition assistance, including two- and four-year colleges and universities.
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Why Veterans Should Consider Online Degrees
Accredited online colleges for military personnel and veterans provide the same educational quality and rigor as on-campus programs. Most military tuition assistance programs offer financial support for students pursuing degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Some financial aid packages cover housing costs as well.
The flexibility of online programs allows military students to balance their studies with military responsibilities. Online programs also allow military students to earn a degree from almost anywhere that they are stationed. Veterans and active service members can pursue an online degree in virtually any field of study available to non-military students.
For military personnel, online degrees have a ton of benefits
Do Online Schools Have Requirements for Veterans?
Online colleges for military personnel and veterans typically require applicants to hold a high school diploma or equivalent and submit transcripts. Applicants may also need to submit letters of recommendation, standardized test scores, and/or an essay.
Once admitted, students must meet coursework and GPA requirements. Some programs require an internship or practicum, which online students can typically complete in their local area.
Montgomery GI Bill®
Signed into law in 1944 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) originally provided funds to cover college tuition, home loans, and unemployment benefits for veterans. It has since expanded to include other programs for active-duty service members (MGIB-AD) and service reservists (MGIB-SR).
Service members who qualify for the MGIB-AD program receive educational benefits for 36 months, which they can use over a 10-year period. The MGIB-SR program comes with a smaller educational allotment, but both programs are adjusted each October to reflect the rising cost of education and training. Recipients can apply their educational benefits toward a two- or four-year college program, as well as technical and vocational programs.
Post-9/11 GI Bill®
The Post-9/11 GI Bill grants educational benefits to service members who have served for at least 90 days after September 10, 2001. Benefits cover full tuition and fees at public universities. Recipients can transfer unused portions of their benefits to dependents. The program also includes a housing allowance. Similar to the MGIB, the program allows recipients to apply their educational benefits toward any type of degree or training program. Recipients can apply for the Post-9/11 GI Bill by mail or online.
Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits do not expire. Reservists and Guard members who meet certain requirements also qualify to receive specific benefits. The Post-9/11 GI Bill includes the Yellow Ribbon Program. Under this provision, private schools that accept students using their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits agree to waive all or some of the unmet portion of the tuition. The VA then matches the waived amount and applies that toward the student's tuition as well.
Additional Resources for Veterans and Military Personnel
The three resources presented below help veterans and military personnel succeed academically and professionally.
Scholarships for Veterans and Military Personnel
Veterans and military service members can find financial aid programs from several sources, including nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and professional associations. Many programs extend educational benefits to spouses, dependents, and survivors of honorably discharged veterans and active service members. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for military students.
|Scholarship||Amount||Who Can Apply|
AFCEA War Veterans Scholarships
|$2,500||Active-duty service members and military veterans who served in one of the Overseas Contingency Operations qualify for these scholarships. Applicants must be sophomores or juniors enrolled in an undergraduate STEM program with a minimum 3.0 GPA.|
|$4,000||American Veterans administers several online scholarships for military personnel and veterans. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and submit proof of enrollment or acceptance to an approved program of study.|
Army Women's Foundation Legacy Scholarships
|$1,000-$2,500||AWF welcomes applications from retired and active-duty women soldiers in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve, and Army National Guard. Direct descendants can also apply. The program allotts funds for certificate programs, as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees. Applicants must show academic promise and demonstrate financial need.|
Online Colleges for Veterans and Military Personnel 2021
Located in Las Cruces, NMSU Online offers online courses, degrees, and certifications. They all enablemilitary and veteran studentsto pursue an education with flexibility and convenience. The school offers in-state tuition rates to any service member stationed at regional military installations.
The school offers a variety of certificate choices, associate degree programs, bachelor's programs, and graduate choices. Notable options include a certificate in game design, an associate of applied science in creative media design, and bachelor's degrees in one of three bachelors of business administration concentrations: general business, marketing, or information systems. Graduate students can choose from fields such as education, nursing administration, or electrical engineering, among others.
The school offers military education benefits to service members, veterans, and their spouses and provides priority registration. Students may also transfer eligible credits from previous military experience.
NMSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
A premier research university in Gainesville, UF Online offers online certificate, undergraduate, and graduate degree programs forveterans and military service members. The school offers out-of-state fee waivers for eligible military on active duty, veterans, or reserve members and their dependents.
The school offers more than 200 degree and certificate choices online. Notable options include a bachelor of arts in sociology, a bachelor of science in telecommunications in media and society, and a bachelor of science in nursing. Motivated students can finish a master's degree in civil engineering or entrepreneurship, among more than 15 other fields. Students can also pursue a doctor of nursing practice, a doctor of education in educational leadership, or a Ph.D. in classical civilization. Certificate choices in related fields allow for additional skills mastery.
Undergraduate applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Graduate applicants must verify admissions requirements with their chosen program. Military students qualify for in-state tuition when stationed in Florida. Florida-resident service members do not lose in-state tuition even when relocated out of state. The school also offers a dedicated office of veteran affairs and a veterans success center.
UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Located in San Bernardino, CSUSB Online offers several certificate programs and undergraduate and graduate programs. The school employs military education benefits experts to make enrolling and leveragingmilitary benefitseasier.
Notable online programs include a bachelor of arts in criminal justice, a bachelor of arts in social sciences, a master of business administration with multiple concentrations, or a master of science in accountancy. The school offers generous short-term and long-term leaves of absence for military members. That way, military members can report for service without worrying about putting their studies on pause.
Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for undergraduate programs. For graduate programs, students must possess an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution to apply.
CSUSB is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.
Located in Orlando, UCF Online offers graduate and undergraduate programs suitable formilitary personnel and veterans. The school grants an official tuition waiver for out-of-state fees for eligible discharged service members. It also waives undergraduate tuition for Purple Heart recipients and recipients of other combat decorations.
The school offers over 25 bachelor's programs, including a bachelor of science in hospitality management, a bachelor of arts in anthropology, and a bachelor of science in nursing. Students can also take advantage of two interdisciplinary bachelor's programs. Master's choices include options in art education, emergency and crisis management, and healthcare systems engineering, as well as more than 20 others. Students can also pursue three doctoral programs and over 40 certificate programs online.
The school offers dedicated study rooms and lounges for military students in the area. It also offers tutoring and advising services specific to the needs of military and veteran students. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for undergraduate programs.
UCF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Located in Tampa, USF Online offers several online graduate and undergraduate programs designed for convenience and flexibility. Eligiblemilitary personnel and veteransmay qualify for an out-of-state tuition waiver. They can also take advantage of GI Bill® benefits.
Notable undergraduate programs include a bachelor of arts in criminology, a bachelor of science in environmental policy, and a bachelor of applied science in urban studies. Graduate choices include a master of arts in library and information sciences, a master of arts in applied behavior analysis, and a master of science in health informatics, as well as 11 choices in education and seven in public health. The school also offers two doctoral degrees online — both in education.
The school provides dedicated tutoring and advising services for military and dependents. Applicants can work with a direct liaison for military-specific questions around admissions. Students need a high school degree or GED equivalent to qualify for undergraduate admissions. For graduate admissions, students must check with individual programs to verify requirements.
USF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Located in Boone, North Carolina, App State Online offers several graduate and undergraduate programs.Military studentsqualify for a special reduced rate from out-of-state tuition and may qualify for residency in some cases.
The school offers undergraduate programs in a variety of fields, including elementary education, workforce leadership, management, and communications. Master's degree choices include programs in higher education, a master of social work, and health administration. Education students can also continue on to a doctor of education in educational leadership. The school also offers several certificate programs online.
The school provides specialized advising services for students utilizing the GI Bill and military education benefits. Applicants must possess a high school diploma to qualify for undergraduate admissions and a bachelor's degree to qualify for master's programs.
App State Online is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Located in Ruston, Louisiana Tech Online offers a handful of bachelor's and master's programs, as well as certificate programs. The school provides a dedicated resources center formilitary studentsand their dependents to help navigate the process of applying and attending.
The school offers one bachelor's program online: health informatics and health information management. Master's degree choices include health informatics, business administration, and engineering technology and management. Students may also take advantage of online certificate choices in business concentrations, including Six Sigma certification, as well as technical writing and communication.
Students can work with the admissions office to apply for and leverage the GI Bill and other military benefits. The school also offers dedicated success advisors. Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for undergraduate degrees and a bachelor's degree for master's level choices.
Louisiana Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Located in Jacksonville, UNF Online offers several undergraduate and graduate programs forveterans and military personnel. The university offers dedicated staffing for veteran students, including success coaches and education benefits experts, as well as special programs and military-specific scholarship opportunities.
The school offers undergraduate programs in nursing and healthcare, education, business, and criminal justice. ASL and interpreting students can earn an undergraduate ASL endorsement or a master of science in ASL interpreting. An RN-to-BSN track provides a pathway for nursing students to advance their careers, with options to continue on to a master's or a doctor of nursing online.
Students can take advantage of student support services to successfully make the transition from military life to college life. Students must follow the admissions requirements for each program and can use student services to make applications and managing GI benefits easier.
UNF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Located in Cookeville, Tennessee Tech offers online undergraduate and graduate programs perfect formilitary and veteran students. The school provides a dedicated military and veterans service center and offers tuition reimbursement and scholarships for active Tennessee national guard members.
The school offers bachelor's programs in business administration, nursing, or organizational leadership. Master's options include engineering management, nursing, or environmental informatics. Motivated students can choose from doctoral degrees in the nursing field with several focus areas. Adding certificates to the degree tracks allows students to customize or enhance their education or take advantage of skills training for a career change.
Students should follow the individual department requirements for admissions. The school offers advisors and student services to help military students transition to college life easier.
Tennessee Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Based in Fullerton, CSUF Online offers three undergraduate programs. The school also offers a dedicated department formilitary and veteran studentslooking to leverage military education benefits.
Students can choose from three degree completion programs: a bachelor of arts in business administration, a bachelor of arts in humanities and social services, and a bachelor of arts in sociology. Students can complete the degrees in just a few years and apply military and veteran education benefits to manage education costs. Students can also access career services and student advising to help with the transition from military life to college life.
Applicants must possess a high school diploma to qualify for admission. Students must also possess at least 60 credits of a general education core to apply for the degree completion programs.
CSUF is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.
Located in Laredo, TAMIU Online offers online programs in business, criminal justice, education, and nursing.Military and veteran studentscan take advantage of a dedicated department for admissions and benefits questions.
Nursing students can achieve a bachelor's in nursing with an RN-to-BSN program. For master's programs, options include programs in educational administration, curriculum and instruction, and five concentrations in business administration. Students can also choose a master of science in criminal justice.
Students complete degrees with little to no residency requirements and can take advantage of student advising and career services designed specifically for military students and their families.
Admission requirements vary from department to department, but at minimum, students must hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution when applying to graduate programs. Nursing students must possess current registered nurse licensure and relevant work experience to apply.
TAMIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Based in Savannah, Georgia, SCAD eLearning offers online arts-related programs formilitary students and veterans, or any student seeking flexibility and convenience.
Bachelor's options include programs in photography, sequential art, social strategy and management, and interactive design and game development. Master's degree students can choose from interior design, illustration, creative business leadership, or writing.
Military students and veterans can take advantage of the school's easy transition programs. The school offers students support for military education benefits, vocational rehabilitation matters, and understanding how housing and entitlement work.
Students can apply for bachelor's degrees with a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Master's students need an undergraduate degree in a related discipline from an accredited institution to apply.
SCAD is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Based in Northridge, CSUN Online offers online courses through the online California State University system. Military students and veteranscan complete courses from multiple campuses through the Cal State online system or full degrees through the Northridge branch.
The school offers a handful of bachelor's degrees, including ones in liberal studies and public administration. For master's programs, students can choose from options in fields such as public administration, knowledge management, interdisciplinary studies, and assistive technology engineering.
Active service members, veterans, and dependents can take advantage of dedicated student advisors ready to help with the transition into educational life and help sort out admissions.
Bachelor's applicants need a high school diploma and a competitive eligibility index using CSUN's formula. Graduate students must follow their individual department's requirements for admission.
CSUN is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.
Located in Miami, FIU Online offers undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certifications formilitary service members, veterans, and their families. The school provides a dedicated office to help military students navigate education costs and admission.
Bachelor's degree options include programs in biological studies, computer science, early childhood education, and information technology. Learners can also choose from several online certificate options. For graduate programs, students can choose from options in accounting, construction management, forensic science, and higher education administration.
The school provides dedicated advising and student services for online students and military students. Military students can also consult with student services for help with military education benefits. Bachelor's applicants need SAT or ACT scores and a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Graduate students need to follow the individual admission requirements for their chosen department.
FIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Based in Lincoln, Illinois, LCU Online offers six different programs for military students and veterans. Students can use their GI Bill to cover tuition expenses and get support while receiving a private Christian education in a religion-based degree track.
The school offers an associate of arts in Bible and three bachelor's programs in business administration, Christian ministry, and psychology. Two master's programs in Bible and theology and organizational leadership round out course offerings.
The school's financial aid department can answer questions about using GI benefits at LCU. Undergraduate applicants need a high school diploma with a preferred GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. The school expects SAT or ACT scores from traditional first-year applicants. Graduate students need to follow individual department requirements. The school requires a Christian character reference as well, following the school's commitment to Christian ethics and living.
LCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/.
With an undergraduate degree in communications and a master's in education, Emma finds writing for the education vertical to be the perfect niche.
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