10 Best Online Colleges for Military Spouses 2024

Author: Linda Weems / Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson / First covered: October 2021
Updates: 5

Key Takeaways:

  • Online colleges offer flexible, accredited programs tailored for military spouses, easing education access despite frequent relocations.
  • These institutions provide substantial military tuition assistance and support services, enhancing affordability and academic success for spouses.
  • Top-ranked colleges for military spouses are committed to accommodating their unique needs, helping them achieve educational and professional goals efficiently.

Those who serve in the armed forces work tirelessly to protect our freedom and way of life. A grateful country recognizes their bravery. Often overlooked is the courage of the wives and husbands who wait at home for their safe return. The colleges on this list recognize the cost of this bravery. They offer education benefits for service members and their dependents. These programs make it easy for thousands of active-duty military and their family members to attend college. They recognize and honor the sacrifice of military personnel in the armed forces, national guard, and reserve. You might be wondering about the legitimacy of online colleges. If that’s the case we have an article that will teach you how to verify whether or not an online college is legit.

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Active duty military personnel are often transferred from one base to another. This can disrupt their spouses planning to attend college or train for work. However, military-friendly online colleges offer a wide range of degree programs. They are designed to help active duty service members and their families transition despite a location change. There are also affordable online colleges for non-traditional students

These online colleges that military spouses must also manage home and other responsibilities. Thus, online military friendly colleges offer affordable and flexible programs. They make it easy for students to attend college and complete their education by taking classes online. By providing ample resources and support, military spouses can gain a degree and meet professional goals. Military spouses face many of the same challenges as active duty military and veterans when it comes to college. You may find some of these college tips for veterans useful. Additionally, if you are looking to attend college after your spouse has left the military, you should check out these scholarships for veterans. While you might not qualify for specific scholarships, some of these organizations might offer scholarships for spouses as well.

Active duty military and their spouses can also opt for military-friendly colleges online. These distance-learning schools offer students even more flexibility. They can work at their own pace and attend class from anywhere in the world. They can choose a synchronous cohort to attend or an asynchronous format to study as per their schedule. Some schools even offer free online classes for military spouses.

Best Online Colleges For Military Spouses 

Regardless of the path they choose, students can save money with reduced tuition through military tuition aid. There are specialized military advisors who support them throughout the online college experience. 

This article lists the top 10 best online military-friendly colleges that military spouses can attend. To develop this ranking, we considered each school’s different types of online programs and courses. We also looked at education benefits for active duty military personnel like:

  • College grants
  • Financial aid
  • Affordability

Our editors also reviewed the following:

  • Faculty experience
  • Accreditation
  • Each university’s school rankings
  • Military tuition assistance
  • Veteran student services
  • Discounted tuition for veterans

The chosen schools are ranked on their affordability, considering the average undergraduate cost. 

#10. Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA

Website
Points: 11
Tuition: $19,680

Regent University was founded in 1978. It has offered quality education to veteran students and service members for years. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks it among the top national universities and one of the best colleges in Virginia.  The school strives to prepare military students and spouses to excel in civilian life and beyond through academic excellence. Programs for prospective students include:

  • B.S. in Cybersecurity
  • B.A. in Communication Studies
  • B.S. in Computer Engineering
  • B.A. in Government – International Relations & Foreign Policy
  • B.S. in Corrections

This online college is grounded in Christian values. It offers associates, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in over 150 areas of study. Tuition assistance is available to military students and those with military experience.

Fast Facts 

  • Format: Online/Traditional
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • GI Bill Students: 1,327

Pros:

  • Excellent military student support system
  • 18:1 Student to faculty ratio

Cons:

  • Issues with scholarship availability have been reported
  • Issues at the administrative level have been reported

#9. University of Arizona Global Campus

Tucson, AZ

Website
Points: 11
Tuition: $13,275

UAGC offers over 300 majors to veteran students and service members globally and nationwide. It is a military-friendly college and an official Yellow Ribbon school. UAGC provides the resources military spouses and students need to succeed. Perhaps this is why it is one of the most popular colleges military students and spouses choose year after year. The university is known for its:

  • Flexible learning schedule
  • Personalized support
  • Robust online platform

These features help students pursue education at their own pace and complete their degrees. 

Military student programs offered by this online college include:

  • BA in Health Care Administration
  • BA in Business Administration
  • BA in Social Justice
  • BA in Accounting
  • BA in Health and Human Services
  • Bachelor’s in Political Science

Prospective students can attend classes from anywhere. Federal financial aid and military spouse tuition assistance is available for eligible students.

Fast Facts

  • Format: Online/Traditional
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • GI Bill Students: 0

Pros:

  • Can transfer up to 90 credits
  • Military grants are available

Cons:

  • Resources are limited
  • Graduation rate is lower than the national average

#8. Indiana University-Online

Bloomington, IN

Website
Points: 12
Tuition: $11,447

Indiana University Online is a top choice for veterans and active-duty families. With its many grants and other forms of financial aid, it often becomes a free college for military students and their spouses. In terms of academics, the school offers many state-of-the-art programs in business, music, and general fields of study. Indiana University has helped many military-affiliated college students and spouses create brighter futures. Programs offered via this online college include:

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

This military family college offers some of the best online degree programs. The academic advising prepares students for the careers of tomorrow. Military students and spouses are encouraged to apply for tuition assistance. Through the Yellow Ribbon program, Indiana University pays any remaining tuition for eligible students after GI Bill benefits are exhausted.

Fast Facts

  • Format: Online/Traditional
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • GI Bill Students: 690

Pros:

  • Graduation rate is higher than the national average
  • Healthy endowment funding

Cons:

  • Student debt at graduation is higher than the national average
  • High student to faculty ratio

#7. Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, NH

Website
Points: 12
Tuition: $15,380

Southern New Hampshire University ranks among the best online schools for military students and spouses. This Yellow Ribbon school offers more than 150 career-focused and affordable bachelor’s degrees, both online and on campus. The flexible programs are designed to fit students’ goals and their busy schedules. Programs offered by this online college include: 

  • Psychology BA
  • Computer science BS
  • Healthcare Administration BS
  • Accounting BS

This university offers some of the lowest online tuition expenses per credit hour. This is one reason it is high on the list of online universities that military-affiliated students and spouses choose. To fund their education, students can explore military spouse options like

  • College grants
  • Tuition assistance
  • Other financial aid options

U.S. News & World Report has ranked SNHU among the top regional universities in the North.

 Fast Facts

  • Format: Online/Traditional
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Number of GI Bill Students: 13,894

Pros:

  • Excellent student support network
  • The approach to online learning is innovative

Cons:

  • Campus resources are limited
  • Online learning can be a struggle for some students

#6. Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR

Website
Points: 12

Tuition: $12,664

Oregon State University offers more than 200 undergraduate degree programs. They also have many graduate and doctoral degrees. Financial aid options for military-affiliated students include college grants and tuition assistance. It is sometimes called a free college for military spouses. The combination of discounts and benefits can make education here affordable or even free for military families. Programs service members pursue at this online college for the military include:

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

This Yellow Ribbon school is diverse and welcoming. As a leading international university, it attracts students from all 50 states and over 100 countries. 

Fast Facts 

  • Format: Online/Traditional 
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities  
  • GI Bill Students: 1,682

Pros:

  • A great selection of academic programs
  • Accepts dual and AP credits

Cons:

  • Many classes are taught by TAs
  • A high student-to-faculty ratio

#5. Fort Hays State University

Hays, KS

Website
Points: 13

Tuition: $5,430

Fort Hays State University is one of the leading educational institutions in the state and a top military family college. It has been offering online programs since 2000. Thus, it has expanded access to thousands of students who would otherwise find it hard to go back to school. Programs available through the online college for the military include:

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

The school is focused on developing engaged global citizen-leaders. It accomplishes this goal through high-quality academic programs and exposure to global knowledge. It offers tuition assistance through the Yellow Ribbon program. They offer unmatched affordability per credit hour and robust student support.

Fast Facts 

  • Format: Online/Traditional
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission 
  • GI Bill Students: 298

Pros:

  • Provides excellent support for adult online students
  • 15:1 Student-to-faculty ratio

Cons:

  • Some financial aid issues have been reported
  • Some lack of communication with advisors has been reported

#4. The University of Oklahoma

Norman, OK

Website
Points: 13

Tuition: $9,312

The University of Oklahoma was founded in 1890. It has offered online bachelor’s degree programs for nearly two decades. The university has expanded access to higher education globally to thousands of students. OU Online is designed for students who cannot attend classes full-time or in person. Its flexible online format makes it one of the best colleges for military students and spouses. Programs offered through the online college for the military include:

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

Enrolled online students receive the same high-quality education and degree as on-campus students. That’s because the same world-class faculty and industry leaders teach all students. The school also offers a low cost per credit hour and full tuition assistance through the Yellow Ribbon program.

Fast Facts

  • Format: Online/Traditional
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • GI Bill Students: 1,475

Pros:

  • Great endowment funding
  • CLEP and AP credits are accepted

Cons:

  • Graduation rate is lower than the national average
  • Some financial aid issues have been reported

#3. Daytona State College

Daytona Beach, FL

Website 
Points: 14

Tuition: $3,106

Daytona State College is part of the Florida College System. It is a top choice among military-friendly colleges. This Yellow Ribbon school has offered online bachelor’s degree programs for over a decade. It is also the leading educational institute for advanced training in Central Florida. Programs available through the online college include:

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

It offers over 100 certificate, associate, and bachelor’s degree programs. Students can benefit from expert academic advising and instruction from a committed faculty. Plus, tuition assistance is available for online courses.

Fast Facts

  • Format: Online/Traditional
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • GI Bill Students: 612

Pros:

  • Top-rated online bachelor’s programs
  • Supportive faculty

Cons:

  • Less prestigious school
  • Limited diversity

#2. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

Website
Points: 15

Tuition: $6,381

The University of Florida is one of the oldest higher education schools in the country. It is also one of the first to begin serving military students with online programs. Students, military spouses, and dependents learn from some of the top faculty in the country. They benefit from the experience and rich history of the institution. Students can use military financial aid options like college grants and tuition assistance. Programs offered through the online college include:

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

The school is known for its top research facilities and highly collaborative environment. This is what attracts students from all over the country and the world. UF also participates in GI Bill programs and is a Yellow Ribbon school. It provides partial tuition assistance to some eligible students.

Fast Facts

  • Format: Online/Traditional
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • GI Bill Students: 1,264

Pros:

  • Top 10 public school
  • More diverse

Cons:

  • More competitive
  • Large class sizes

#1. University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL

Website
Points: 16

Tuition: $6,368

The University of Central Florida (UCF) is known for its high-quality programs delivered online. It is also renowned for being one of the most affordable universities in the country. As a military spouse college, it focuses on developing the skilled talent businesses need today. Programs available through the online college include:

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

At UCF, students can enjoy the school’s many academic resources and high-quality instructors’ support. Students can study and earn their degrees online for added convenience and flexibility. The school is also committed to developing an inclusive academic and research environment. It is focused on operational excellence. Tuition assistance is available to select students through the Yellow Ribbon and GI Bill programs, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. It’s easy to see why UCF was chosen as our best online college for military spouses and active duty members.

Fast Facts

  • Format: Online/Traditional
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • GI Bill Students: 2,362

Pros:

  • Ranks among the best schools in the southeast
  • Offers credit for life experience

Cons:

  • Very high student-to-faculty ratio
  • Acceptance rate is lower than the national average

More About Best Online Schools for Military Spouses

25 Best Online Colleges For Military Spouses

What are the best online schools for military students and their spouses offering?

The top online schools for military spouses offer a wide range of programs. These include offerings at the undergraduate, graduate, and certificate levels. Military family members face many unique challenges. They range from the stress of having their spouse in the line of danger to the constant transfers. It can make achieving a degree from a reputable campus hard. However, choosing a military-friendly college can help them overcome these challenges. That choice can pave the path to a bright and successful future. An online, flexible program will allow them to study at their own pace. That way, they can complete their degree on time despite moving from one base to another with their military service member spouses.  

Military-friendly online schools have helped expand access to higher education for veterans, active military personnel, and their spouses. Online programs allow them to travel with their spouses while working towards a degree. The colleges featured in this ranking understand that veterans’ lives and the lives of their families can be demanding. Their flexible online platforms help military spouses balance aspects like:

  • Education
  • Family
  • Duty toward the country
  • Career goals 

The schools featured here recognize and honor their service and sacrifice for the nation. Thus, their programs are designed to meet diverse student needs. Most of these colleges have a special veteran support department. It provides detailed information on the programs for veteran families. These departments provide details on the following:

  • Military tuition assistance
  • College grants
  • Other financial aid options

They offer personalized support and resources to help students meet their professional goals.

Online education is a great option for spouses who want to return to college and complete their degrees cheaply. The best online schools for military families allow them to study from anywhere in the world and anytime. Yet, ensuring that the online colleges spouses choose are accredited is important.

Many colleges promise free online classes for military students and spouses. But getting a degree from just anywhere may not be helpful. Finding a trustworthy and flexible online learning option that suits student needs is important. This can be challenging, but with a little research, one can find reliable military spouse-friendly colleges. These colleges offer military families flexibility, affordability, and an accredited degree that future employers recognize. 

25 Best Online Colleges For Military Spouses

How are military-friendly colleges different from traditional schools?

Traditional schools and military-friendly colleges can offer very different experiences. Many schools offer special tuition rates for a college education. Look for the ones who actively proclaim that they are offering financial aid or other college grants for the military. They will help navigate military benefits offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs. This includes:

  • GI Bill benefits
  • The Yellow Ribbon program
  • Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)

These are the benefits that the military will pay the school on behalf of the student

Online learning options often work better for military students and spouses. Campus-based courses require students to attend class several times every week at specific times. Since military families move around a lot, that could be a challenge. It may be easier for students to schedule virtual classes around the rest of their responsibilities. Some schools offer asynchronous classes that students can take at any time. Others offer synchronous classes. They require students to attend scheduled classes with their cohort. Veteran students enjoy the flexibility to work toward their degrees in their own time and at their own pace. Some of these distance education providers opt to offer accelerated options. This way, students can complete their degrees sooner than they would have on a traditional campus. Spouses from military families may be able to take on more coursework each semester and enter the workforce sooner. 

Top schools for military students and their spouses have dedicated staff to oversee and manage the process. These advisors can handle all the necessary paperwork, including federal financial aid. The team is always at hand to help military families, guide them to the right program, and offer support throughout the program. They can even offer placement advice when graduation is close. 

What will you learn in a military-friendly school?

The best universities for military personnel and their families offer a wide range of programs. Degrees are offered on-campus and online. These include: 

  • Associate’s degree – An associate degree is a type of undergraduate degree. This credential is awarded after a course of two to three years of post-secondary study. It is a qualification above a high school diploma, GED, or matriculation and helps students move on to a bachelor’s degree. 
  • Bachelor’s degree – A bachelor’s degree is awarded upon completion of a course of academic study lasting over four years. Most colleges and universities offer:
    • Bachelor of Arts
    • Bachelor of Science
    • Bachelor of Fine Arts
    • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Master’s degree – A master’s degree is an advanced degree that prepares students to excel in specific areas. It is awarded upon completion of an advanced academic course of study. This advanced program allows students to demonstrate their knowledge as experts.
  • Doctorate – A doctorate is an advanced post-graduate degree called a research degree. It can take four to five years to complete. Students who complete them are qualified to work in senior positions or teach at the university level.
  • Certificate programs – Certificate programs are a series of short courses. They can usually be completed in a year or less. They can provide specialized vocational training for students who want to get into a specific job quickly. A graduate certificate involves completing specialized training. They usually coincide with a master’s degree program. 
  • Diploma programs – Diploma programs focus on training for specific skills. They are short courses of study that lead to vocational, undergraduate, and graduate credentials for students. 
  • Non-Degree Courses – Non-degree courses are short courses that provide students with specialized knowledge in certain fields of interest. These courses do not lead to a degree or certificate.

The military-friendly school makes it easy for students to earn the degree they need, so long as they have a high school diploma. Some even offer free online classes for military students and spouses, along with the regular ones, to help them meet their credit goals. With military benefits like college grants, students can earn credentials on a schedule and budget that fits their needs. 

25 Best Online Colleges For Military Spouses

How to choose the best military-friendly school for college grants?

Service members must research the best college for military students and their spouses. This includes schools offering college grants and other military benefits like financial aid options from Veterans Affairs. Students enjoy an affordable tuition rate and complete their degrees sooner rather than later. 

Are colleges and universities for active duty personnel accredited and recognized? And why is that important?

Students must thoroughly research before investing time and money into any online program. The first step is to determine which schools offer fully accredited online degrees. The accreditation process is quite thorough and rigorous. Thus, accreditation verifies a program’s credibility by ensuring the quality of the program and course delivery.  

Online programs have grown in demand and popularity. However, not all are known for offering quality education. The leading military-friendly online colleges are all accredited by an authorized organization. These quality academic institutions award various degrees recognized by other higher education institutes and employers.

An accredited military-friendly college is designed for students who find it hard to return to school. Challenges for these students include constant moves between military bases. They must also manage their families while spouses undergo military training or are active duty personnel. Even if they wish to get a temporary job at any base, getting one without a college degree can be hard. Thankfully, we live in an age where remote or online jobs abound. Opportunities have opened up for military families. They can now work from anywhere with just a laptop and reliable internet. But even to enter the workforce online, they would need a college degree from an accredited college on top of a high school diploma. These challenges can be overcome with schools offering special military spouse college financial aid and the flexibility to attend from anywhere. 

Accredited degrees improve job prospects for military spouses. They provide extra help to get started in mainstream life and excel in it. This “seal of approval” from a recognized organization certifies that the college offers a quality education. It also ensures that students qualify for military education benefits like the Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program.

25 Best Online Colleges For Military Spouses

How much does a college for military spouses cost?

Military-friendly colleges offer affordable rates for veterans, active military personnel, and their families. Depending on the college or university, the discounts run between 10 and 15 percent of the usual tuition rates. Students can get military education benefits like financial aid or college grants. When combined, they make college education really affordable or even free.

How can I choose a good college for military spouses?

Many factors help active duty, military spouses, and veteran families determine which college to choose.

Accreditation:

A school’s accreditation certifies that the institution offers a high-quality academic experience for those seeking a college education. The best colleges for military personnel must meet the strict quality standards set by these third-party agencies. It should also be able to maintain them over time. Accreditation offers a degree of high credibility. This is something that employers recognize and respect. It can also impact a student’s financial aid eligibility, credit transfer options, and graduate program enrollment. Finally, accreditation may affect certain military benefits like the Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program.

Courses & Concentrations Offered:

Active-duty military students and spouses need to review the offered courses carefully. They should select the degree level and review the courses offered in each program. This includes core courses and majors, as well as electives or concentrations. The choice of concentration is very important because it impacts future studies and jobs after military training. Students should also look at internships, group projects, and capstone projects. All of these are elements that may need to be completed to fulfill degree requirements. 

Recognition:

How well a college for military spouses is recognized regionally and nationally is important as it can impact a student’s future. Getting a degree from a high-ranked, military-friendly college can help improve job prospects. Looking for the best online schools for military students and active duty spouses in school rankings like Forbes or the US News and World Report is a good place to start. 

Cost:

College is expensive for just about everyone, but it should not stand in the way of anyone’s dreams. With many state and federal government-funded financial aid, military members and their spouses should not worry too much. The best schools for military personnel offer discounts for the dependents of the military, such as their children or spouses. Students will need to furnish some necessary documents to prove their spouses’ service to qualify for a discount. They will then enjoy discounted tuition rates and fees, apply for aid and also get college grants specifically reserved for military members and student veterans. 

Some schools also offer free online classes for military spouses who may not have gotten enough aid but are qualified to apply and study. Others may combine all the aids and discounts to enjoy free college for active duty military members and their spouses. 

Program flexibility and format:

Online degree programs should offer a flexible format, whether synchronous or asynchronous. Students should find out whether it is possible to study online 100%. There may be campus visit requirements that could impact their decision to attend. If they are based at a remote location and wish to go to a school of their choice, then only a 100% online format will work. Students applying as military members or spouses also need to check for scheduling options. These may include accelerated degree options for faster degree completion or flexibility to phase the delivery to a longer time if necessary. Some military-friendly colleges offer generous credit transfers, even when taking classes online. This not only helps students to graduate faster but also at an affordable rate. 

Other Online Military-Friendly Schools to Consider:

  • American Military University
  • Purdue University- Fort Wayne
  • Washington State University
  • Arizona State University

Sources

  • Military Benefits 
  • Pearson
  • MilitaryOneSource.com 
  • US Department of Veterans Affairs

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