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Military Friendly Colleges

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Military-friendly schools are colleges or universities that make a special effort to help military members and student veterans. They offer programs that help you get credit for your military experience, save money on tuition, and have flexible class schedules. They also have staff who understand the challenges that military members face and can help them stay on track academically. Some schools even have special centers and workshops to support military members. In 2017, these schools received extra funding to help support military members.

2017 Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits 2017 DOD Tuition Assistance Program Benefits
Total # Who Received Aid 595,777 232,330
Total Dollars Awarded $4.4 Trillion – 81% Undergrad $455 Million – 85% Undergrad
Average Amount Awarded $9,801 $2,169
Average Undergrad Award $9,754 $2,192
Average Grad Award $10,212 $2,295


Military-friendly colleges help military members transition from military to college life and civilian careers. They have certain standards to measure their commitment and success in helping military students. To find out if a college is military-friendly, there are 8 things to look for. These things help you assess if the school is a good fit for you.

Military friendly colleges offer help to students during key admissions processes. These workers should be well versed in school policies as well as VA, DoD and federal aid. They should explain how and when to file paperwork. Make sure you understand timelines and deadlines. And, answer questions you have housing.

Many colleges also go a step further through workshops or special military classes. Some offer mentoring, tutoring, counseling and career services.

Apart from personalized support, there may be broader campus services too. Like veteran associations, clubs and career placement services. How important are student veteran organizations

Student veteran organizations often help to build trust through hands on, in person help. Many veterans value having such points of contact. They suggest it helps them navigate their college experience.

Such organizations furnish a safe, shared place for veterans and military service members. Many also advocate for the needs of the military student community. This often translates into higher veteran retention and graduation rates.

Many accredited colleges accept transfer credits from other accredited schools. Top military friendly colleges may go a step further.

Usually, this means they assess your Joint Service Transcript (JST) for transfer credit. Such credit may be for earlier military school training and/or military experience.

These schools often go by the American Council on Education (ACE) guidelines. ACE’s Military Guide looks at formal courses and jobs offered by all branches of the military. Then translates them into college credit recommendations.

About 2,9000 schools also allow the use of CLEP testing for college credit. Often, the U.S. government funds these through DANTES. So, exams may be free to take for some military members.

Having fewer credits to do helps in two ways. One, it reduces the number of credits you pay for. Two, it may help you graduate faster.

When a school is military friendly it has national or regional accreditation. This means its programs are credible and eligible students may pursue federal aid.

Many colleges also have U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs approval. At VA approved schools, you may use your GI benefits to help pay for college.

Some of these VA approved schools take part in the Yellow Ribbon Program. The Yellow Ribbon Program pays costs not covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Military friendly schools offer tuition savings to military and veterans. There are at least 3 layers to this process.

At the basic level, colleges must provide Service members access to a financial aid advisor. Before they enroll. This person outlines all aid programs in a clear way that does not mislead.

A second part may come in the form of tuition savings and fee waivers. This part is up to the school. Among the things to look for are:

  • Waive admission fee
  • Waive registration fee
  • Discount tuition/cost per credit
  • Support financial aid in the form of Federal Student Aid (grants and loans)
  • Tuition caps for military students
  • Offer military scholarships
  • Enable employer benefits
  • School military grants
  • Extend savings to military and Veteran spouses and dependents

Third, military friendly universities also take part in VA and DoD benefits programs. These benefits may pay for education and training. They often cover money for tuition, books and supplies, and housing.

Military Programs
  • GI Bill®. For qualifying Veterans and their family members. It helps with money that covers all or some of the costs for school or training
  • Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33). Helps you pay for school or job training. If you’ve served on active duty after September 10, 2001, you may qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit
  • The Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD. May help you pay for education and training programs. If you’ve served at least 2 years on active duty, you may be eligible for this benefit
  • The Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR). This program offers up to 36 months of education and training benefits. If you’re a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, or Air National Guard, you may be eligible for this benefit
  • Yellow Ribbon Programs. Most public colleges charge higher tuition to non-residents than to residents. But a school may opt to take part in the Yellow Ribbon program for non-residents. This program requires the school to provide you a tuition waiver which the VA will match
  • Survivors and Dependents Assistance. If you are the child or spouse of a veteran, you may be eligible for Chapter 35 benefits
  • Tuition Assistance (TA). Some schools take part in the Department of Defense TA Program. These institutions sign an agreement with the DoD. TA benefits extend to eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. In some cases they cover 100% of tuition costs

Veterans, Active Duty, National Guard/Reservists and their dependents can use the GI Bill Comparison tool. This feature allows students to log in and compare education benefits.

In 2012, President Obama signed executive order 13607, The Principles of Excellence. It is for all schools that serve Service members, Veterans, Spouses, and their families.

Schools that are part of this program must give each student a written summary that outlines:

  • Cost covered by your benefits
  • The financial aid you may qualify for
  • Your expected student-loan debt after you graduate
  • An education plan with a timeline that shows how to fulfill everything you need to graduate
  • Set a point of contact to provide academic and financial advice
  • Allows you to be absent due to your service obligations (for active duty members and Reservists)

The VA lists schools that comply on their website.

For me, the online schooling was better than the traditional line because I suffer from severe insomnia and there are times I can go three or four days without sleep and for a normal school, that wouldn’t work. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the work whereas with the online schooling, I can do it all on my own time and when I can.

Military friendly colleges also have flexible programs and policies.

Some of these speak to the needs of Reserve and National Guard members. Many deploy or must be absent from school due to military service conflicts. Flexible policies allow students to remain in and return to school with no penalty.

Other criteria include things such as:

  • Online program options
  • Programs that provide marketable skills for civilian jobs
  • Policies that help veterans connect and succeed
  • Foster communication between veterans and teachers
  • Have tutoring programs
  • Include veteran-only classes to help these students feel they “fit in”
  • May have family-friendly housing for veterans
  • Provide extra guidance during the admission process

Two measures of student success are retention rates and graduation rates.

Retention rates show how many students return to the same college for another year. Nationwide, the average is about 61.1%. Looking for rates above the norm, you’ll find schools where students may stay on track.

Graduation rates show how many students finish their degree. Studies show it is often harder for military students to complete their degree. Many are older, facing health issues and juggling a family life.

Research suggests that veterans who feel supported on campus tend to have:

  • Increased GPAs
  • Higher retention and graduation rates

The “8 Keys to Veterans’ Success” is a voluntary initiative. It exists through the Departments of Education, Veterans Affairs, and Defense.

The program outlines things that colleges can take to be friendly to the military. Both to promote well-being and success for veterans. Things like:

  • Create a culture of trust across the campus community to promote well being and success for veterans.
  • Ensure consistent and sustained support from campus leadership.
  • Implement an early alert system to ensure all veterans receive academic, career, and financial advice before challenges become overwhelming.
  • Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all veterans, together with the creation of a designated space for them (even if limited in size).
  • Collaborate with local communities and organizations, including government agencies, to align and coordinate various services for veterans.
  • Utilize a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on veterans, including demographics, retention, and degree completion.
  • Provide comprehensive professional development for faculty and staff on issues and challenges unique to veterans.
  • Develop systems that ensure sustainability of effective practices for veterans.



These military friendly colleges in the US are listed based on the total amount of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits awarded in the 2017 / 2018 school year. All data is reported by NCES and Department of Defense. Most of these schools take part in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a part of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Under the Yellow Ribbon Program, the colleges and the VA pay the tuition and mandatory fees not paid for by the GI Bill.

University of Phoenix – AZ

4035 South Riverpoint Parkway | Phoenix, AZ 85040

Total Post 9/11 GI Bill Funds Awarded in 2017: $90.6 Million

UOP is our top military friendly college with just over $90 million in Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits awarded in the 2017 /18 school year. Military friendly policies at UOP include two ways to use transfer credits. One through an accredited associate degree. The other, through a Prior Learning Assessment. If you don’t qualify for either, you may be able to earn credit through an Experiential Essay. UOP also offers military tuition rates and you may use VA benefits too.

Military Tuition Rate: Yes
Credit for Military Training: Yes
Educational Services Officer (ESO): Yes
Student Veteran Organization: No
Yellow Ribbon Program: Yes
Principles of Excellence: Yes
8 Keys to Veteran Success: Yes
DoD Memo of Understanding: Yes

2020 Tuition and Fees

Undergrad: $9,552
Grad: $17,096

Average Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits Awarded

Undergrad: $7,024
Grad: $8,079

# of Students Earning 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

Undergrad: 10,648
Grad: 1,951

Retention Rates For Students Who Receive Benefits

Undergrad: 76%
Grad: 63%

University of Maryland – Global

1616 McCormick Drive | Largo, MD 20774

Total Post 9/11 GI Bill Funds Awarded in 2017: $69.8 Million

Apart from a wide range of majors, UMGC is the recipient of many awards. For example, they ranked in the top 5 for cyber security programs in 2016 and 2017.

UMUC also offers a wide range of military friendly options. It may be possible to fast track your degree with credit for military experience and training. They also feature reduced tuition rates for the military and Tuition Assistance. TA covers up to 100% of undergrad tuition. You’ll also find dedicated staff who understand the challenges of transitioning to civilian life.

  • Military Tuition Rate: Yes
  • Credit for Military Training: Yes
  • Educational Services Officer (ESO): Yes
  • Student Veteran Organization: Yes
  • Yellow Ribbon Program: Yes
  • Principles of Excellence: Yes
  • 8 Keys to Veteran Success: Yes
  • DoD Memo of Understanding: Yes

2020 Tuition and Fees

Undergrad: $7,560
Grad: $8,640

Average Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits Awarded

Undergrad: $4,728
Grad: $6,539

# of Students Earning 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

Undergrad: 10,557
Grad: 3,044

Retention Rates For Students Who Receive Benefits

Undergrad: 77%
Grad: 60%

American Public University System

111 W. Congress Street | Charles Town, WV 25414

Total Post 9/11 GI Bill Funds Awarded in 2017: $59.5 Million

APUS is a private for-profit school system. It comprises the American Military U (AMU) and American Public U (APU). The main goal of AMU is to provide flexible and relevant online programs to those who serve. They offer over 200 programs at all degree levels.

AMU has many veterans on staff and offer many military friendly services. One is a tuition grant that caps cost per credit. Students using TA benefits may also receive free books and e-books. Apart from waiving course technology fees they also credit for military education and training courses.

  • Military Tuition Rate: Yes
  • Credit for Military Training: Yes
  • Educational Services Officer (ESO): Yes
  • Student Veteran Organization: Yes
  • Yellow Ribbon Program: Yes
  • Principles of Excellence: Yes
  • 8 Keys to Veteran Success: Yes
  • DoD Memo of Understanding: Yes

2020 Tuition and Fees

Undergrad: $7,360
Grad: $6,660

Average Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits Awarded

Undergrad: $3,959
Grad: $3,379

# of Students Earning 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

Undergrad: 11,958
Grad: 3,609

Retention Rates For Students Who Receive Benefits

Undergrad: 79%
Grad: 74%


Find-a-school is giving away a $1,000 scholarship to help with the costs of earning a degree and pursuing your career after leaving the military. The scholarship can be used to pay for any school fees through the bursar’s office (though some restrictions may apply depending on the school).

To apply for our Military Scholarship, you need to write a 250-word essay answering the question: “How has your military service prepared you to improve your education?” The deadline for submitting your application is September 30, 2021. Don’t miss this opportunity and apply for the scholarship now!

Scholarship Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for this scholarship, you must be either active duty military, honorably discharged, a veteran, or a spouse of someone from any branch of the military. You must also be a legal resident of one of the 50 United States or DC, and at least 18 years old when you apply. Additionally, you must be currently enrolled, or planning to enroll no later than the fall of 2022, in an accredited college, university, or trade school. For more information about the scholarship rules, please refer to the Official Scholarship Rules.

If you're looking for more military scholarships, you can also check out our sister site Unigo. There you can find a variety of scholarship opportunities specifically for military members and their families. It's a great resource to explore as you plan for your education and career goals.

This is a private website that is not affiliated with the U.S. government, U.S. Armed Forces or Department of Veteran Affairs. U.S. government agencies have not reviewed this information. This site is not connected with any government agency. If you would like to find more information about benefits offered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, please visit the official U.S. government web site for veterans’ benefits at

The sponsored schools featured on this site do not include all schools that accept GI Bill® funding or VA Benefits. For more information on how to choose a school, visit. For more information on Education Connection, visit our FAQ page or follow the About Us link found below. Contact us here or email us.