Why This Matters

  • RECEIVE 36 MONTHS OF FULL-TIME GI BENEFITS

    Although there are regulations regarding benefits disbursed through the GI Bill, generally speaking, these benefits can subsidize most or all of the cost of a four-year degree at a public university.

  • 37% OF JOBS REQUIRE SOME COLLEGE EDUCATION

    The more education you have, the more job opportunities will be open to you. Veterans have 10-15 years from the end of active duty to use their GI Bill benefits, so if you have not yet enrolled in college, now may be the time.

  • GI BENEFITS MAY BE TRANSFERABLE TO FAMILY

    GI Bill benefits can be used to offset the cost of education for a spouse or children of active duty service members. The eligibility rules vary, but many colleges will also work with family members using GI benefits.

Our Research

The schools on our list offer all levels of degree programs, from associate to doctorate. Your current education level and career goals will determine which type of degree you seek.

All the institutions we evaluated have either regional or national accreditation. For students who want to transfer credits to another institution, or pursue an advanced degree in the future, attendance at a regionally accredited institution is recommended, as those credits and degrees are more widely recognized.

The courses at the schools on our list are offered on-campus, online, and hybrid formats.

In addition to reviewing the overall reputation and strength of the institutions, we took a close look at their programs and support offered to active duty service members, veterans, and their families, to determine which were the best bets for this specific group of students.

Each school received an Intelligent Score on a scale from 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best military friendly colleges are well-respected and affordable.(For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 62 hours to write this article
  • 224 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 401 education programs we compared

The Top 60 Military Friendly Colleges

badges
01

 

What You Should Know About This Degree

The military offers multiple GI Bill programs for active duty military members, veterans, and spouses and children of service members. Each program has specific eligibility requirements and regulations. It’s important that you understand what benefits you are eligible for prior to applying to a college. You must obtain this information from the Bureau of Veterans Affairs. Even if a school as a military affairs office, they do not have access to your records and GI Bill information.

Many military friendly colleges will work with service members who choose to work on their degree while on active duty, including refunding tuition payments in the event you are called for duty. However, GI Bill benefits are administered differently for active duty service members and veterans, and you may not receive the maximum benefits you are eligible for if you choose to use them while serving.

Because of the way for-profit colleges are regulated, there has been speculation that for-profit colleges have been targeting veterans for their GI Bill funds, while providing a questionable quality of higher education. Veterans and active duty service members should carefully look at the schools to which they are considering applying, to ensure that they will receive a quality education and recognized degree from a respected institution.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Military Friendly Colleges:

  • Am I eligible for GI Bill benefits? If you have not yet contacted the Bureau of Veterans Affairs to check your eligibility for GI Bill benefits, now is the time to do so. Applications for these benefits can take up to six weeks to process. Failure to have your certificate of eligibility available for your school can impact your ability to start classes.
  • Can I receive credits for military training? Many military-friendly schools will give students credit for skills or knowledge received as part of their military training or experience, especially if it’s in a related major such as engineering, nursing, or criminal justice. Talk to an advisor to find out what kind of credit you can receive for your military experience.

Research the application deadlines and requirements as part of your selection process. This information should be available on the school’s website, or by contacting their admissions department.

It’s also important to note that GI Bill benefits may not cover all of your tuition and fees. You should also look into scholarships, federal financial aid, and assistantships in the event there is a gap.