Many veterans are looking to receive an education and enter the civilian workforce once they have returned home. In most cases, these veterans have families and other obligations, which make them seek out the best online colleges for veterans, who will work with their benefits and their schedule. The flexibility that comes with online degree programs allows these military veterans the ability to work at their own pace and gives them the ability to restructure their life to fit their personal needs.
The lifestyles of veterans are often demanding, even after they have retired from the military. Some of our veterans return home to jobs that require twelve-hour shifts that can be overnight (in public service roles such as nurses, EMTs, and law enforcement), making traditional courses undesirable for their lifestyle. The best online colleges for military veterans give them the ability to work with their instructor and classmates around their schedule while gaining the education necessary to further their degree.
Recommended Online Colleges for Veterans
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How We Chose the Best Online Colleges for Veterans
To select institutions to highlight as the best online colleges for military veterans, College Consensus editors had a set of criteria for determining military-friendliness. Institutions must have:
- at least 3 online bachelors degree programs to qualify
- Servicemember Opportunity Colleges membership
- Recognized Student Veteran Organization
- Yellow Ribbon Program participation
- A staff/faculty support member for veterans and their families
- Transfer credits for military service and training
Colleges and universities that met these standards are ranked according to their Consensus Score, using the unique College Consensus methodology. That process should give veteran students confidence that they are choosing a college that not only understands their needs, but have a track record of quality and return on investment.
Military and veteran students may also be interested in our ranking of the best traditional colleges for veterans.
Citadel Military College of South CarolinaCharleston, SC
According to US News & World Report, the Citadel is a senior military school that is proud to serve American veterans and is recognized to be among the best online colleges for veterans in the southern United States. The Citadel offers a variety of academic programs during the day and evening as well as online.
Rutgers University-New BrunswickNew Brunswick, NJ
Rutgers University has a long history of serving students who have served in the United States Military as the state university of New Jersey. For the past decade, Military Times has ranked Rutgers University among the top fifteen institutions of higher education for military veterans and one of the best online colleges for veterans. Rutgers also offers virtual open houses for veterans interested in one of their programs.
University of IowaIowa City, IA
The University of Iowa (IVETS) offers a variety of benefits that support students (and their families) as they transition from military paths towards their educational goals & civilian life. As one of Iowa’s best online colleges for veterans, IVETS offers scholarships, career advising, and even employment options to student veterans who are enrolled in a class, certificate or academic degree program.
University of ArizonaTucson, AZ
The University of Arizona’s Veterans Transition Services is ranked among the best online colleges for veterans by US News and Military Times. The University of Arizona’s veterans’ services are designed to support, education and empower each student veteran’s success in academics and to foster student engagement within the university’s community. The University of Arizona participates in the GI Bill and other military-connected benefits.
University of Massachusetts-AmherstAmherst, MA
The University of Massachusetts Amherst has been recognized among the best online colleges for veterans in New England. Through the school’s Veteran’s Services, UMass Amherst provides educational benefits, military credits, and a veteran’s resource center to assist student veterans enrolled at UMass.
Syracuse UniversitySyracuse, NY
Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans & Military Families, as one of New York’s best online colleges for veterans, provides student veterans with a variety of programs to help each be successful as they reach for education, work (I.e., career training), and life goals. Additionally, Syracuse University provides online resources and cutting-edge networking opportunities through the VETNet online community dedicated to military and veteran families.
Radford UniversityRadford, VA
Through Radford University’s Office of the Registrar, the school offers various veteran (and their dependent) benefits. Radford University is recognized among the Commonwealth of Virginia’s best online colleges for veterans with support services in the area of academics, counseling, tutoring, and career services, among others. The Registrar’s Office is the department in the school that processes all official certification documents.
University of Central FloridaOrlando, FL
The University of Central Florida has been ranked by US News & World Report among the best online colleges for veterans, offering a variety of benefits to students who are transitioning from military life and careers. Additionally, the University of Central Florida is a Yellow Ribbon (for bachelor’s and master’s programs!) and GI Bill-approved school.
George Mason UniversityFairfax, VA
George Mason University’s Office of Military Services has a long history of serving members of all branches of the armed forces. George Mason University has long been considered among Virginia’s best online colleges for veterans, offering career, tutoring, counseling, and career resources to its student veterans.
Webster UniversitySaint Louis, MO
Webster University is a proud participant of the Veteran’s Administration’s Yellow Ribbon program and among Missouri’s best online colleges for veterans. Webster University also participates in the Post-9/11 Bill, both Montgomery 9/11 Bills, the Veterans Retraining Program, and VEAP – the Veterans Educational Assistance Program. Education credits may be used for a variety of seminars, classes, and program options.
Rutgers University-NewarkNewark, NJ
Rutgers University Newark’s Resources for Veterans offers an array of programs and support services to those military veterans who wish to enroll in the school’s Newark campus. Rutgers Newark campus has been ranked among the best online colleges for veterans and is renowned for its diversity and ranks among the top colleges in student diversity.
University of UtahSalt Lake City, UT
The University of Utah’s UVET program has been designed to support each student veteran’s academic success as they transition to civilian life. As one of Utah’s best online colleges for veterans, the University of Utah serves as a vital liaison between the university and the school’s community of student veterans.
Colorado State University-Fort CollinsFort Collins, CO
Colorado State University’s Military & Veteran Resources is proud to assist veterans and military members in meeting their career & educational objectives. As one of Colorado’s best online colleges for veterans, Colorado State University helps in the creation of a customized academic plan through extensive academic advising services.
Washington State UniversityPullman, WA
Washington State University’s Office of Veteran’s Affairs offers a variety of benefits to reservists, military veterans, active-duty members, and their families. Washington State University has been recognized to be one of the best online colleges for veterans, according to US News and World Report. WSU’s Global Campus offers up to 30 transfer credits from previous Joint Services work if the credits meet WSU’s eligibility requirements.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens PointStevens Point, WI
The University of Wisconsin’s Stevens Point campus is recognized to be among the best online colleges for veterans and a military-friendly school. The University of Wisconsin’s Veteran Services offers students an array of federal benefits includes the Post 9/11 GI Bill, The Forever GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon Program, and the Montgomery Bill, to name a few.
Saint Louis UniversitySaint Louis, MO
Saint Louis University’s Veterans’ Benefits office acts as a liaison for those student veterans interested in attending Saint Louis University. As one of the Midwest’s best online colleges for veterans, Saint Louis University participates in the Veteran’s Administration’s Yellow Ribbon Program, plus it offers a reduced tuition rate for both veterans and active-duty military members. Additionally, the university accepts transfer credits if the credits have been earned through ACE – the American Council of Education.
University of South Florida-Main CampusTampa, FL
The Office of Veteran Success at the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus offers an array of benefits in support of student veterans as they transition from military to civilian life. As one of the best online colleges for veterans in the Sunshine State, the University of South Florida offers scholarships, tuition assistance, and support services to access a veteran’s educational benefits.
University of Oklahoma-Norman CampusNorman, OK
The Norman campus of the University of Oklahoma’s Veteran Support Alliance was developed to support the needs of those student veterans enrolled in a degree or certificate program at the university. Additionally, the University of Oklahoma is recognized among the best online colleges for veterans in middle America. Included in the benefits are GI Bill NRES and Transfer Benefits through the campus and the school’s extended (online) campus.
Westfield State UniversityWestfield, MA
Westfield State University’s Veteran & Military Services offers a variety of benefits to all current and previous military members and their children and spouses. As one of Massachusetts’ best online colleges for veterans, Westfield State University provides assistance and support to help students transition to university & academic life and to succeed in meeting their academic and personal objectives. WSU also offers credit for military experience.
LeTourneau UniversityLongview, TX
LeTourneau University’s Veteran’s Affairs Office performs as a liaison between student veterans and the Department of Veterans Affairs and is considered among the Lone Star State’s best online colleges for veterans. In addition, LeTourneau University is an active participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides for the tuition costs that are not covered by the Post 9/11 Bill. LeTourneau University is known as the Christian Polytechnic University.
University of KansasLawrence, KS
The University of Kansas’s Lieutenant General William Jones Military-Affiliated Center offers a variety of benefits for all members of the military – active or veteran. As one of Kansas’s best online colleges for veterans, the University of Kansas participates in the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program and offers a veteran’s organization for students on-campus, as well as a job study program for GI Bill’s student users.
Loyola University ChicagoChicago, IL
Loyola University Chicago’s Military Veteran Student Services has been developed to help support veteran students’ success in school and in reaching for their career objectives. Among the benefits offered by one of Chicago’s best online colleges for veterans are transfer credit eligibility options, a wellness center, and dependent educational assistance, legal assistance, career development, vocational rehabilitation, discounts, tutorial assistance, and tuition assistance, to name a few.
Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochester, NY
The Rochester Institute of Technology is ranked among New York and New England’s best online colleges for veterans, with a long-standing tradition of supporting all active and former military members. The Rochester Institute of Technology offers veterans support and assistance in obtaining their military benefits and offers financial support, application fee waivers, counseling services, career services, and scholarship opportunities.
University of IdahoMoscow, ID
The University of Idaho’s Military & Veteran Services was designed to assist and support all active members of the military and veterans – plus their dependents, through a variety of support services. Among the services offered by one of Idaho’s best online colleges for veterans are assistance with accessing educational benefits, GI Bill Certification applications, and housing allowance adjustments and modification, to name a few.
Drexel UniversityPhiladelphia, PA
The Office of the Veteran Student Services Division at Drexel University is responsible for coordinating the school’s efforts in support of the veterans who are enrolled in a class or program offered by Drexel University. Drexel University is considered one of the mid-Atlantic’s best online colleges for veterans with services that include networking opportunities, admissions, financing, health/counseling services, and disability services, plus Yellow Ribbon benefit opportunities, among others.
Can I Get an Online Degree for Free as a Veteran?
Most online degrees offer a discounted tuition rate for veterans. Upon their retirement, veterans are offered a benefit from Veteran Affairs known as the GI Bill, which will cover the cost of the tuition for the veteran. These VA approved online schools college give veterans the ability to earn a quality education without having to pay out of their personal pocket for the funds. The GI Bill is available for veterans to use in either traditional classrooms or online classrooms. Most online college programs are considered equivalent to traditional programs and recognized by Veteran Affairs when paying for the classes.
There are some institutions that offer free tuition for veterans that do not require the use of their GI Bill, allowing veterans to save it for dependents in the future. These programs are known as the Yellow Ribbon program, and they offer free online college for veterans who are acclimating to civilian life after returning from the military. Still others offer scholarships just for veterans and their families. Depending on the residing state of the veteran, they are able to review a list of schools that participate in this program and determine which online program fits their career goals and needs.
Are Active Duty Personnel Eligible to Learn Online?
Active Duty personnel have the ability to further their education online, and many find this opportunity rewarding. The best online college for active-duty military allows these students to access their courses from bases and countries across the globe. This gives them the ability to continue their education without a time-lapse, and they are also able to continue interacting with others through the classroom forum. They can access their classroom around their work schedule, and while their time zone may be different, they are still able to gain that interaction and have access to resources around the clock.
Some of these students were able to complete some college credit prior to joining the military or even during the military from nearby institutions. Credit transfer is something that many active-duty personnel consider when searching the best college for military credit transfer, which many of these programs are available online.
Some Active Duty Personnel wants to advance their current education and seek out the best online masters programs for military personnel. These programs are often designed to fit their leadership roles and the necessary military industries such as intelligence, emergency management, and engineering depending on their career field. Like the undergraduate programs, they are provided the same online conveniences of resources and interaction despite their current location.
What Are the Benefits for Military Spouses to Learn Online?
Like active duty and veterans, military spouses have the ability to also learn online. Most online colleges that are military friendly understand that one of the best ways to support military personnel, whether they are active or a veteran, is to support their spouse with discounted or free education. Many of these spouses are located across the globe, stationed at bases with their active-duty spouses where they are currently working or based out of while on assignment. Because their lives are also unconventional, online learning gives the spouses the ability to continue their personal education and preventing a time-lapse, so they are able to resume their career once they return to civilian life.
These spouses are able to review the best online colleges for military spouses and are able to use their spouses, GI Bill to cover their tuition if they need it. Like the Yellow Ribbon Program for active-duty members and veterans, some colleges offer free online courses for military spouses that give them the ability to interact with others while furthering their education. It is essential for spouses to have the same ability to continue their education and readapt to civilian life, since they, too, sacrifice a normal life to support their military spouse.