The top military-friendly universities


Pursuing a college degree provides veterans with a chance to expand their current skill set.

In addition to wanting to serve their country, many people join the armed forces as a launchpad for a college education. The GI Bill and other military-based programs provide assistance to smooth out the transition and help fund a higher education. Active duty servicemembers interested in attending college after discharge should consider military-friendly universities and schools.

How the army helps vets attend college

Thanks to the passing of the GI Bill, the armed forces offers one of the best routes for Americans to gain access to a higher education. There are many options for colleges all across the country for our men and women in uniform, as well as a growing number of online programs. Best of all, many universities are uniquely suited to help veterans or servicemen and women transition from active duty to civilian life through campus engagement groups, veterans clubs and other memberships.

The military is there to help servicemen and women obtain a college education in many different ways. The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial help for those eligible for:

  • Tuition and fee payments.
  • Monthly housing allowance.
  • Books and supplies stipend.
  • One-time rural benefit for certain veterans.

For the 2017 academic year (Aug. 1, 2017 through July 31, 2018), the Post-9/11 GI Bill covers all tuition and fee payments for an in-state public school or up to $22,805.34 per academic year for a private or foreign school. The Post-9/11 GI Bill also established the Yellow Ribbon Program, which allows colleges, universities and other degree-granting programs to voluntarily work with the VA to fund any costs that the bill doesn't cover.

With help from the GI Bill, veterans have more financial options for attending college.With help from the GI Bill, veterans have more financial options for attending college.

Top 10 best schools for vets

Active duty servicemembers researching schools for after discharge or current veterans who want to apply now should consider institutions that rank highly for being friendly to members of the military.

The Military Times released its Best for Vets: Colleges 2017, with its top 130 schools listed based on military enrollment, retention and graduation rates, as well as affordability, extracurriculars and Yellow Ribbon compliance. The Military Times listed the following as the top 10 schools:

  1. The University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
  2. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
  3. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York.
  4. Armstrong State University, Savannah, Georgia.
  5. D'Youville College, Buffalo, New York.
  6. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
  7. Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia.
  8. South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota.
  9. University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska.
  10. The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
Pursuing a college degree is one of the main reasons many people join the armed forces.Pursuing a college degree is one of the main reasons many people join the armed forces.

Best military colleges online

Unlike traditional students who attend college after graduating high school, servicemen and women enter college after their enlistment period. This means many military personnel already have a family and a household in place that needs support. With so many responsibilities and limited resources, pursuing a degree online can be a smart move.

U.S. News & World Report released its list of Best Online Bachelor's Programs for Veterans, ranking the offerings to obtain a degree in higher education using predominantly internet-based coursework. The list relied on factors such as reputation, faculty credentials, retention rates and graduate debt loads. The publication also included whether the program has a critical mass of students with military backgrounds and if the school designed the programs to make them veteran-focused, either participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program or charging in-state tuition which the GI Bill can cover.

 U.S. News & World Report's top five online bachelor's programs for veterans were:

  1. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide, Daytona Beach, Florida.
  2. University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma.
  3. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.
  4. Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky.
  5. California University of Pennsylvania, California, Pennsylvania.

With so many options to choose from, military personnel should have no trouble finding the college or university that best suits their financial needs and helps them transition back into civilian life. 

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