10 Best Online Colleges For Military Veterans 2024

Author: Bambi Majumdar
Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson, MS.Ed.
Reading Level: Grade 9
Original Publication Date: October 2021
Updates: 3

The best online colleges for veterans recognize the sacrifice of military personnel. That is why these military-friendly schools offer a wide range of online programs. Once they have returned home, students can receive an education and enter the civilian workforce. These top colleges honor service members and military veterans by offering them the education they deserve. They provide the resources they need to succeed and reach their professional goals.

These colleges understand that veterans have other obligations along with serving their country. Thus, they offer many benefits like affordability and flexibility. This makes it easy for veterans and active military personnel to attend college. The flexibility allows them to work at their own pace and attend class from anywhere in the world. In most cases, they choose the asynchronous format. This allows veterans to study according to their schedule.  

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The best colleges for veterans offer personalized support and a flexible online platform. This is so that students can balance education, family, military duty, and career goals. These colleges understand that veterans’ lives can be demanding, even after they have retired from the military. Thus, they offer flexible online degree programs. This allows them to work with their teachers and classmates around their schedules. This way, they can balance life, work, and study well. 

These schools aim to provide a comprehensive academic resource for:

  • Military veterans
  • Reservists
  • Active service members
  • Military dependents across the country

Transfer credits allow students to earn military and work experience credits. Students can save money with reduced tuition and benefit from a $0 application and transfer credit fees. Moreover, students will get specialized military advisors who will support them through graduation from their online programs. 

In this article, we have listed the top 10 best colleges online for veterans. We have considered:

  • The different types of online degree programs and online courses they offer
  • Tuition assistance and other benefits for service members and veterans
  • Affordability

We have also considered accreditation, faculty experience, and recognition of each university. For the sake of this ranking, we have listed the schools based on their affordability, considering the undergraduate cost. Some schools offer discounted tuition for veterans, while others offer an in-state student rate. 

#10. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide

Daytona Beach, FL

Website
Points: 12

Embry–Riddle is a top-ten regional university, according to U.S. News & World Report. It offers many undergraduate and graduate degrees with a special focus on aviation and aerospace programs. It offers state-of-the-art online technology and the flexibility of learning. Online programs for veterans and military-affiliated students include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security 
  • B.S. in Emergency Services
  • Business Analytics BS
  • Aeronautics (BSA) 
  • Safety Management BS

The university is the largest accredited university system specializing in aviation and aerospace. It offers a first-rate education to active service members and veterans. The school provides limited tuition assistance through the Yellow Ribbon fund. Other military education benefits, including GI Bill eligibility, may also be available.

Fast facts: 

  • Format: Online/On-campus 
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Undergraduate tuition per credit: $250

Pros:

  • Top regional university
  • Smaller class sizes

Cons:

  • Lower graduation rate

#9. George Washington University

Washington, DC

Website
Points: 12 

George Washington University is one of the leading online colleges for veterans. It is a private federally chartered research university. It is also the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. The school has offered online bachelor’s degree programs since the late 90s. Online degree programs for veterans and military-affiliated students include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences in Clinical Health Sciences
  • Homeland Security Bachelor’s Degree Completion program
  • RN – BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
  • ​​Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences in Global Leadership in Disaster Response
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences in Biomedical Informatics

Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., the school offers immense potential for international engagement. Online bachelor’s students learn from the best. They also get unparalleled access to leading international institutions, global media outlets, multinational corporations, and the governments of many countries via their embassies. GWU participates fully in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Fast facts: 

  • Format: Online/On-campus 
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Undergraduate tuition per credit: $250 

Pros:

  • High graduation rate
  • Small class sizes

Cons:

  • More competitive

#8. Indiana University-Online

Bloomington, IN

Website
Points: 12

Indiana University Online is home to top-ranked business and music schools. The school is a Yellow Ribbon program participant. It has helped students create brighter futures by offering online bachelor’s degree programs since 2008. It is focused on driving innovation, from cancer research and DNA technology breakthroughs to trailblazing cultural programs and resources. Online bachelor’s programs for veterans and active duty students include:

  • Applied Health Science, BS
  • Artificial Intelligence, BA  
  • Business Administration, BS
  • Informatics, BS
  • Mathematics, BS

The school offers some of the best online degree programs to better prepare online students for the careers of tomorrow. Financial aid and other military education benefits may be available to active military service members enrolled in online college programs.

Fast facts: 

  • Format: Online/On-campus 
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Undergraduate tuition per credit:$235.59

Pros:

  • Top public school
  • Higher graduation rate

Cons:

  • Less diverse

#7. Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR

Website
Points: 13

Oregon State University is a public land-grant research university founded over 150 years ago. Today, it offers over 200 undergraduate degree programs. They also have many graduate and doctoral degrees. It attracts students from all 50 states and over 100 countries. Online bachelor’s programs for veterans and active duty students include:

  • Agricultural Sciences (B.S.)
  • Anthropology (B.A./B.S.)
  • Biohealth Sciences (B.S.)
  • Business Administration (B.A./B.S.)
  • Business Analytics (B.S.)

The school is diverse and welcoming. It’s committed to building a smarter, healthier, prosperous, and more just future. Oregon State offers limited tuition assistance through the Yellow Ribbon program.

Fast facts: 

  • Format: Online/On-campus 
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities  
  • Undergraduate tuition per credit: $219.33

Pros:

  • Nationally ranked public school
  • High acceptance rate

Cons:

  • Larger class sizes
  • Less diverse

#6. Fort Hays State University

Hays, KS

Website
Points: 13

Fort Hays State University initially began as a teacher’s college. It then expanded to become one of the leading educational institutions in the state. The comprehensive public university has been offering online bachelor’s degree programs since 2000. Programs for veterans and active duty students include:

  • Geosciences BS
  • Geography/GIS BS
  • Organizational Leadership BS BA
  • Computer Science BS
  • Criminal Justice BS BA

The school is focused on developing the engaged global citizen-leaders the world needs today. The high-quality academic programs, unmatched affordability, and robust student support make it a great choice for veterans and adult learners. All eligible student veterans are offered funding through the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Fast facts: 

  • Format: Online/On-campus 
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission 
  • Undergraduate tuition per credit: $181.46

Pros:

  • Top public school
  • High acceptance rate
  • Smaller class sizes

Cons:

  • Lower graduation rate
  • Less diverse

#5. University of Oklahoma

Norman, OK

Website
Points: 14

The University of Oklahoma is a Yellow Ribbon program participant. It is also a public research university that has been offering online bachelor’s degree programs since 2003. Founded in 1890, the public institution existed in Oklahoma Territory near Indian Territory for 17 years before both became the state of Oklahoma. Online bachelor’s programs for veterans and active duty members include:

  • Bachelor of Arts – Integrative Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts – Lifespan Care Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts – Organizational Leadership
  • Bachelor of Science – Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science – Aviation

OU Online is designed for students who cannot attend classes full-time or in person. Taught by the same world-class faculty and industry leaders, students receive the same high-quality education and degree as on-campus students. Additional financial assistance may be available to some student veterans who elect an online degree program.

Fast facts: 

  • Format: Online/On-campus 
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Undergraduate tuition per credit: $164

Pros:

  • Nationally ranked public school
  • High acceptance rate

Cons:

  • Lower graduation rate

#4. University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Amherst, MA

Website 
Points: 14

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a public land-grant research university. It was founded in 1863 as an agricultural college. UMassOnline was created in 2001 to meet the online educational needs of students globally. Online bachelor’s programs for veterans include:

  • BA in Liberal Arts
  • BA Advocacy and Social Justice Studies Concentrations
  • BA Arts Management Concentrations
  • BA Criminal Justice Concentrations
  • BA Health Studies Concentrations

UMA offers over 4000 online courses and over 200 degree programs and certificates. Their mission is to help students continue their education and enhance their careers. UMass Amherst offers tuition assistance for all eligible students through the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Fast facts: 

  • Format: Online/On-campus 
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Undergraduate tuition per credit:$125

Pros:

  • Top public school
  • Higher graduation rate

Cons:

  • Larger class sizes

#3 Daytona State College

Daytona Beach, FL

Website
Points: 15

Daytona State College is a public college and part of the Florida College System. It has been offering online bachelor’s degree programs since 2006. The College is the premier source for education and advanced training in Central Florida. The school offers over 100 certificate, associate, and bachelor’s degree programs. Online bachelor’s programs for veterans include:

  • BAS in Supervision & Management
  • B.S. Electrical Engineering Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting
  • Bachelor’s Secondary Chemistry Education
  • B.S. Engineering Technology

DSC graduates serve in varied fields like healthcare, business, emergency services, education, engineering technology, hospitality, computer science, and more. Limited funding for student veterans is available for the school’s Yellow Ribbon program.

Fast facts: 

  • Format: Online/On-campus 
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Undergraduate tuition per credit:$120.34

Pros:

  • Top-rated online bachelor’s programs

Cons:

  • Less prestigious school
  • Less diverse

#2. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

Website
Points: 15

The University of Florida is a public land-grant research university and a senior member of the State University System of Florida. It has been offering high-quality education since 1853. Students learn from some of the top faculty in the country. Online bachelor’s programs for veterans include:

  • Anthropology BA
  • Computer Science BS
  • Criminology BA
  • Geology BA
  • Sport Management BS

The school is known for its high-end research and a uniquely collaborative environment. It attracts students from all over the country. 

Fast facts: 

  • Format: Online/On-campus 
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Undergraduate tuition per credit: $111.92

Pros:

  • Top 10 public school
  • More diverse

Cons:

  • More competitive

#1. University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL

Website 
Points: 16

The University of Central Florida (UCF) is a metropolitan research university. It fosters social mobility while developing the skilled talent needed to advance professionals and businesses globally. It boasts high-quality instructors, resources, and support for students to achieve their education goals online. Online bachelor’s programs for veterans include:

  • Psychology BS
  • Nursing BS
  • Health Services Administration BS
  • Criminal Justice BA/BS
  • English BA

The school is focused on solving tomorrow’s greatest challenges. They demonstrate a commitment to academic, inclusive, and operational excellence. Fully online bachelor’s students get one-on-one support from application to graduation by an online success coach. There are many education benefits offered to veteran students. Some eligible students will qualify for UCF’s Yellow Ribbon program.

Fast facts: 

  • Format: Online/On-campus 
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Undergraduate tuition costs per credit: $105.07

Pros:

  • Nationally ranked public school
  • Diverse student body

Cons:

  • More competitive
  • Large class sizes

More About Best Online Colleges for Veterans

30 Best online colleges for veterans

What education benefits do the best colleges online for military personnel offer?

The best colleges for the military offer a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs. Most of these schools have a special veteran support department. They also provide details on financial aid and support vet students with military training. These schools recognize and honor their service and sacrifice for the nation. The best colleges for the military also offer personalized support. They provide the resources veterans need to succeed and attain their professional goals. They offer degree programs that help them receive an education and enter civilian life and the workforce.

An online college degree paves the path to a bright and successful future. This is especially true for veterans who want to resume life after retiring. Choosing an online, flexible program has helped expand access to more schools. Military students can serve on tours and complete their degrees through these programs. The flexible online platform helps them balance education, family, military training, and career goals. These colleges understand that veterans’ lives can be demanding, even after they have retired from the military. 

Online education is gaining popularity for students who are working or taking other courses. They are also great for active duty service members and veterans who want to get back into academia and finish their education. The best online colleges for the military provide the flexibility to study from anywhere around their schedules. However, students must ensure that they apply to accredited schools because that will ensure quality education.

Attending online military-friendly colleges has many benefits for veterans. But, finding a trustworthy and flexible online learning option that suits a military student’s needs can be challenging. They need a quality education that will help put them in good stead with future employers once they return to civilian life. Getting a degree from an accredited and recognized institution is very important. 

What will you learn in online military-friendly colleges?

The best online colleges for veterans offer a wide range of programs for veterans and active military personnel. Degrees offered online can include: 

  • Associates:
    • An undergraduate degree with a level of qualification above a high school diploma, GED, or matriculation. It is awarded after a course of post-secondary study lasting two to three years and helps students move on to a bachelor’s degree. These degrees can also be obtained at local or out-of-state community colleges.
  • Bachelor’s
    • An undergraduate degree awarded by colleges and universities. It is awarded upon completion of a course of academic study lasting over four years. These include Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts, and Bachelor of Business Administration degrees. 
  • Master’s:
    • A master’s degree is awarded upon completion of an advanced academic course of study. It allows students to demonstrate their knowledge in a specific field of study.
  • Doctorate:
    • In most countries, a doctorate or doctoral degree is a research degree. It qualifies students to work in a specific profession or teach at the university level.
  • Certificate:
    • A certificate program is a short academic program that can be completed in a year or less. It provides specialized training for those who hold diplomas. There are also vocational courses for students who want to get into a specific job quickly. 
  • Diploma:
    • A diploma program helps students focus on specific skills. It is a short course of study that leads to vocational, undergraduate, and graduate credentials. 
  • Non-Degree Courses:
    • Non-degree courses are short courses. They do not provide students with a degree, certificate, or qualification. But they do provide students with additional knowledge in the fields they are interested in. 
  • Graduate Certificates:
    • A graduate certificate usually represents the completion of specialized training at the college level. 

Online degree and certificate programs for veterans are designed to make it easy for all military students to earn a degree. They can do so with military benefits and special tuition rates on a schedule and budget that fits all their needs. 

30 Best online colleges for veterans

How can service members choose the best college for military credit transfer?

Active-duty personnel and veteran students need to research and find out which college offers the best military credit transfer. Most schools that offer military or veteran benefits include a high percentage of credit transfers. Students can not only enjoy the advantage of an affordable tuition rate but also complete their online college degree sooner rather than later.

Are the best colleges for active duty service members and military veterans accredited and recognized?

The best online colleges for military service members and veteran students who have completed military training are all accredited by an authorized organization. Accredited online colleges ensure that a quality academic institution awards the degree earned. Online programs for veterans have grown in demand and popularity over the years. But not all are on equal footing when it comes to quality education. Students have to make sure that the university or online college they decide to attend is accredited.

Accredited online schools for service members and veterans have been a boon for students who would have otherwise been unable to get a college education while they are serving the country. Even after they are no longer in military training, it can be hard to get back into a mainstream career without a college degree. Some need to get into the workforce right after serving. Some live in rural or remote areas that face a lack of good colleges. Others may not be able to afford the high cost of college. But with schools offering special rates for veterans of military service, including military tuition assistance and the flexibility to attend from anywhere, these challenges for military personnel can be overcome. 

Many military service members and veteran students have personal constraints as well that prevent them from attending college full-time. This could include caregiving for a family member or recovering from a war injury, for instance. 

30 Best online colleges for veterans

Why is accreditation important for a military-friendly school?

Accredited online military-friendly schools and colleges are the best choices for service members and veterans because they hold recognition and approval from professional organizations. They offer accredited degrees that improve job prospects for all students. This includes those who need that extra help to get started in mainstream life and excel.

Accreditation can be defined as a “seal of approval” from an authority site or a recognized organization that certifies that the college offers a quality academic experience. The best colleges online for active duty service members and veterans undergo a review process. This process is conducted by several non-governmental and nonprofit organizations. 

Students need to do thorough research before investing time and money into any online college or online program for veterans. Accreditation makes a program credible and ensures the quality of the program and course delivery. The accreditation process is quite thorough and rigorous. So one can be assured that the best colleges online for military personnel are offering quality education. It improves the overall value of the degree and job prospects once service members return to civilian life. 

Active-duty personnel and veterans can also research the program-specific accreditations offered by an independent, nonprofit agency. Many are regionally accredited colleges online, while others call themselves nationally accredited online colleges. These reflect the programmatic excellence of accredited online military-friendly schools and colleges. It also ensures that the program and university both meet national quality standards. Veterans and active military students can expect a high-quality degree with top-notch course delivery in these programs. Choosing accredited programs for military and veteran students can also ensure that you’re eligible for military tuition assistance programs through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs too. This includes the Veterans Educational Assistance Program.

How are the best online schools for veterans different from traditional schools?

Many schools offer special tuition rates for active-duty personnel and veterans. Still, there is a significant difference between attending a traditional school and one of the best online colleges for veterans. Campus-based courses require that students attend class a certain number of times every week and at specific times. It may be easier for students who are service members to schedule virtual classes around the rest of their responsibilities. 

Some military-friendly schools have synchronous classes for their online college students. This means that students attend scheduled meetings in chat rooms. Still, even those are quite flexible, allowing students to pursue other courses or work. Veteran students enjoy the flexibility to work toward their degree on their own time, at their own pace.

Another important factor to consider when looking for online programs for veterans is how quickly students are hoping to finish their degrees. Students working full-time or who have other obligations may have the ability to take on more coursework each semester through an accelerated option and complete their degree sooner than they would have done on a traditional campus. This way, they can enter the workforce sooner once they return to civilian life. 

The best colleges online for veterans and active-duty personnel have dedicated staff to oversee and manage the process. This includes all the necessary paperwork for veterans and active military students. This team of experts is always at hand to help veterans, guide them to the right online programs and offer support right through their graduation. They not only ensure that they get high-quality education but also help them with placement advice later in their educational journey. 

How much do the best colleges for the military cost?

Online military-friendly colleges offer affordable rates for veterans and active military personnel. In most cases, a veterans’ educational assistance program cost ten percent less than the in-state tuition rates.

30 Best online colleges for veterans
How to choose the best colleges and programs online for veterans?

Many factors help veteran students determine the right online military-friendly colleges for them. Here are some things to look out for when choosing online programs for veterans and service members.

Accreditation – Accreditation certifies that a school offers a quality academic experience. Best online colleges for the military must meet and maintain strict quality standards set by these third-party agencies. Accreditation offers high credibility to the degree, It can impact financial aid eligibility, employability, graduate program choice, and credit transfer options.

Recognition – How well a school is recognized nationally or regionally can impact the future of the student. If he or she belongs to a particular region, then getting a degree from high-ranked military-friendly online colleges can help their job prospects in the area. If military students are keen to explore jobs nationally, then they can look for the best colleges for military personnel that are mentioned in national rankings like Forbes or the US News and World Report. 

Cost – The cost of programs for veterans is an important factor for all students. But veterans can rest easy with special tuition rates and many aid options, like a veterans education assistance program. With such assistance, they do not have to worry about huge student debt. The best online colleges for veterans offer military discounts for students who served in any branch of the military. These schools may also offer discounts for the dependents of military students. This includes their children or spouses and veterans, and those currently enlisted. All students need to do is show proof of their service or their family member’s service to qualify for a discount. 

Some schools also offer free tuition to qualifying veterans who do not have available funds via the GI Bill or any other federal education program. Veterans may receive one month of free tuition for each month of their service for up to four academic years at state-supported military-friendly online colleges. 

How to choose the best colleges and programs online for veterans?

Many factors help veteran students determine the right online military-friendly colleges for them. Here are some things to look out for when choosing online programs for veterans and service members.

Accreditation – Accreditation certifies that a school offers a quality academic experience. Best online colleges for the military must meet and maintain strict quality standards set by these third-party agencies. Accreditation offers high credibility to the degree, It can impact financial aid eligibility, employability, graduate program choice, and credit transfer options.

Recognition – How well a school is recognized nationally or regionally can impact the future of the student. If he or she belongs to a particular region, then getting a degree from high-ranked military-friendly online colleges can help their job prospects in the area. If military students are keen to explore jobs nationally, then they can look for the best colleges for military personnel that are mentioned in national rankings like Forbes or the US News and World Report. 

Cost – The cost of programs for veterans is an important factor for all students. But veterans can rest easy with special tuition rates and many aid options, like a veterans education assistance program. With such assistance, they do not have to worry about huge student debt. The best online colleges for veterans offer military discounts for students who served in any branch of the military. These schools may also offer discounts for the dependents of military students. This includes their children or spouses and veterans, and those currently enlisted. All students need to do is show proof of their service or their family member’s service to qualify for a discount. 

Some schools also offer free tuition to qualifying veterans who do not have available funds via the GI Bill or any other federal education program. Veterans may receive one month of free tuition for each month of their service for up to four academic years at state-supported military-friendly online colleges. 

Courses & Concentration Availability: Students need to check and review the courses offered by the best online colleges for veterans. They should first select the degree level and then scan the courses offered in them. This would include core courses, majors as well as electives or concentrations. The choice of concentration means specialized study within a degree-seekers’ chosen major. It also includes internships, group projects, and capstone projects. Online college students should choose a program for veterans with a concentration that fits their future career goals. 

Program delivery and flexibility: Veteran students looking for the best online colleges should find out whether they can study online 100% or if there are campus visit requirements. They also need to see how flexible the format is, whether synchronous or asynchronous. The next thing to check is whether the military-friendly school has accelerated degree options or flexibility to phase the delivery to a longer time if they need it. They also need to ensure that the online college honors their service time. This means their research should include the best college for military credit transfer. 

Sources

  • U.S. News & World Report 
  • Military Times
  • College Consensus