Best Military-Friendly Online Colleges (2023)

Overview of Military-Friendly Online Colleges

Many online colleges and universities welcome military students. According to a 2020 demographic report, over 190,000 active-duty officers had a bachelor's degree or higher. The flexibility of online learning is particularly well suited for active duty military personnel who frequently change locations due to deployment or changes in work assignments.

Can You Be in the Military While Going to College?

You can be in the military while attending college, but only about 6% of undergraduate and graduate students are active-duty service members. However, approximately 10% of all college students are veterans.

Individuals who want to serve their country and go to college simultaneously have two options:

  • Become a full-time student who serves as a paid reservist or a National Guard member on select weekends and other limited periods of time.
  • Enlist in a branch of the military and enroll in a college near your base or an online degree program, using tuition assistance to pay for school.

However, you do not have to do both concurrently. You have two other options for serving in the armed forces and receiving college funding as one of your military benefits:

  • Enlist in any branch of the military and serve a full term, and then use your veterans' benefits to pay for college afterward.
  • Apply for a Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship and, if accepted, enter into an agreement with a branch of the military that will pay for your college education first in exchange for your commitment to serve a three- to six-year term after you graduate.

Gaining Credits for Military Experience

In many cases, the training and education you have received as a military service member can be converted into college credits. This can save you both time and money by giving you a head start on fulfilling some of the requirements for earning your online degree.

There are several ways schools go about evaluating your previous life experiences to see if you might qualify for any credits:

  • Conducting a prior learning assessment (PLA) to determine how many credits your experience is worth. The PLA process varies from school to school, but it usually begins when you request a transcript of your military experience. A college faculty member and/or a representative of the American Council on Education will then review your transcript and assess the learning outcomes related to your service and training.
  • Asking you to take one of several standardized examinations.
  • Inviting you to present a portfolio of work for review, facilitated by a faculty member or trained evaluator.

The school will then inform you as to which, if any, required courses are considered complete and how many college credits you can receive for your military experience.

Financial Assistance for Online Military Students

One of the most important benefits available to military service members is financial assistance for college. There are two primary types of military benefits:


Tuition assistance provided by the various military branches for active duty service members.


GI Bill benefits provided by the Veterans' Administration for active duty military personnel and veterans.

Below, we provide an overview of these programs and answer some common questions about military benefits, especially when used for online college.

What Online Colleges and Degrees Will the Military Pay For?

Under the GI Bills and other programs, active duty and veteran service members can receive financial assistance for getting an education, whether through traditional means or through online schools. However, not all schools accept veterans' benefits, so prospective military students will want to focus on military-friendly colleges that do.

The Veterans' Administration provides a search tool that will tell you which schools accept veterans' benefits.

These benefit programs allow current and former military service members to pursue accredited associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees in all subjects — as well as certificates and vocational training — on a full- or part-time basis. Funding may also be used for continuing education courses needed to maintain professional certification or licensure.

Not only does the government offer assistance with tuition costs, it may also provide funding for school supplies and other expenses, including fees for college entrance exams, such as the SAT, ACT, GMAT, or LSAT, and certification exams. Many service members are eligible for housing stipends — known as the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) — as well, although these stipends are reduced by half if the student is pursuing an online degree.

It's important to note, however, that there are caps on how much money the government will provide. For example, the current maximum amount of annual tuition at a private school that is reimbursable under the Post-9/11 GI Bill is over $26,000. This will not be enough to cover the annual tuition costs at many of the more prestigious private universities, such as Ivy League schools. If students wish to attend schools like Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia, they may need to apply for additional federal financial aid and other sources of college funding.

GI Bill

Enacted during World War II and administered by the Veterans' Administration, the original Montgomery GI Bill was established to encourage veterans to go to college or pursue formal job training. The terms have been revised and updated over time, and an additional program, known as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, was signed into law in 2008. Today, some veterans are eligible for benefits under just one of these bills, while others are eligible under either one. Active duty military personnel, reservists, and National Guard members may also be eligible for GI Bill funding. Benefits typically cover tuition, books, housing, and other expenses.

Your eligibility for benefits under either GI Bill, as well as the amount of benefits, depend on when and how long you served. In general, if you have served on active duty for at least 90 days since September 10, 2001, and you received an honorable discharge, you are eligible for benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Veterans who have served for more than three years, received a Purple Heart, or served for less time but were discharged due to a service-related disability are all entitled to 100% of the available benefits. Veterans should contact the VA directly to determine their exact benefits before applying to online military-friendly universities or trade schools.

If you are eligible for GI Bill benefits, you'll find you have many options for pursuing an education at a military-friendly college. You can study full-time or part-time at online schools or on traditional college campuses, and you can enroll in an associate, bachelor's, master's, or certificate program in any subject you choose.

If you are eligible for either the Montgomery or Post-9/11 benefits, you may want to consult with a VA advisor. Both programs are complex, yet distinctly different, and you may want to get input from an informed advisor before determining which one best fits your plans and goals. You can only use one at a time, and you cannot switch once you've made your choice.

Tuition Assistance

Active duty, National Guard, and Reserve service members are also eligible for the Department of Defense Tuition Assistance (TA) program. As with the GI Bill programs, service members must meet certain requirements to be eligible for TA.

Here's what you need to know about the TA program:

  • Benefits can be used at accredited online and bricks-and-mortar schools for courses leading to academic or technical degrees or certificates.
  • The program covers up to 100% of tuition expenses and course fees at schools charging a maximum of $250 per credit hour.
  • TA can only be used while you are still on active duty, although you can use it in conjunction with any GI Bill benefits you may be eligible for.

Additional Funding Through Yellow Ribbon Schools

Due to the limits on how much funding is available, some military students may find they face a gap between their military benefits and the total cost of attending their school and program of choice. To address this issue, many military-friendly colleges participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Yellow Ribbon schools provide additional benefits to military students that may include tuition discounts and scholarships in varying amounts, depending on the school. Military students may also be eligible for federal financial aid, such as Pell grants, state-sponsored scholarships, and school-funded grants and scholarships.

Online College for Military Families

The spouses and dependent children of active duty military members and veterans are entitled to a number of benefits that can make earning an online college degree more affordable. In some cases, military family members who demonstrate significant need may be able to attend online college for free or at minimal cost.

All five major branches of the U.S. military provide education-related financial assistance to spouses, and in some instances to dependent children as well. For example, the Army provides the Mrs. Patty Shinseki Spouse Scholarship Program for spouses of active Army, Army Reserve, and National Guard service members. Families of Navy and Marine Corps service members may be eligible for Navy Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) Education Assistance. Additionally, service members who are eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits may be able to transfer some or all of their education benefits to a spouse or dependent.

Military family members should check with the appropriate military branch to determine the eligibility requirements for the various types of assistance available. Explore our site for more tips on how to save money in college or student loan advice.

Financial assistance is also available from private organizations, states, and colleges. For example, private scholarships include the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship, which provides up to $4,000 for spouses pursuing associate degrees, continuing education programs, or licenses and certifications. Additionally, the National Military Family Association offers a range of scholarships for college students at all levels.

Here are some additional funding sources for military family members:

  • Most U.S. states offer scholarships and grants for military and National Guard family members, especially for families of service members who were injured or killed in action.
  • Many military-friendly schools, especially those designated as Yellow Ribbon schools, offer financial assistance to eligible spouses and dependents.

Eligibility requirements for these programs vary, so prospective online college students should check with their schools and their state's Department of Veterans Affairs office to discover all possible options.


What is the easiest online college to get into? ›

Antioch University in Culver City, California, offers an online degree program for Liberal Arts. It is arguably considered as the easiest online college – or an 'easy' pick because it takes a well-rounded, generalist approach. The university's online B.A in Liberal Studies accepts up to 75 transfer credits.

What colleges take the most military credits? ›

What Schools Accept Military Credits for Undergraduate Programs?
  • Penn State World Campus - University Park, Pennsylvania.
  • Regent University - Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • City University of New York - Brooklyn, New York.
  • Northwestern Health Science University - Bloomington, Minnesota.

Will the military pay for online college? ›

You can use the GI Bill for independent and distance learning online. If you're using your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits while taking only distance-learning courses, we'll pay a housing allowance based on 50% of the national average.

Does the Army pay for online college? ›

Military personnel can use military tuition assistance to help pay for college, graduate school, and vocational programs. They can also use it to pay for independent study and online programs.

What college has a 100% acceptance rate? ›

Colleges with the Highest Acceptance Rates - Top 100
SchoolLocationFall 2021 Acceptance Rate
Academy of Art UniversitySan Francisco, CA100%
Adams State UniversityAlamosa, CO100%
Alliance UniversityNew York, NY100%
Baptist College of FloridaGraceville, FL100%
17 more rows

What is the fastest degree I can get? ›

What is the fastest and easiest degree to get? Often students focus on Business Administration, Psychology, or Education degrees for the fastest degrees; however, General Studies, English, and Communications may be considered some of the easiest, along with Psychology.

What is the easiest 2 year degree to get? ›

  • Easiest Online Associate Degrees.
  • Associate in Early Childhood Education.
  • Associate in Liberal Arts or General Education.
  • Associate in Accounting.
  • Associate in Healthcare Management.
  • Associate in Marketing.
  • Associate in Business Administration.
  • Associate in Fashion Merchandising.
7 Oct 2022

How many college credits is my military training worth? ›

Military experience could be worth up to 20 college credits. Most colleges grant four semester hours in physical fitness for recruit training. In fact, most colleges give credit for other service schools attended as long as those courses are longer than two weeks and are not of a classified nature.

What makes a college military Friendly? ›

Defining Military Friendly® Schools

These benchmarks measure an institution's commitment to be “better for veterans” in meaningful outcome measures: graduation rate, retention rate, loan default rate, and job placement rate.

How many college credits does it take to rank in the military? ›

You may earn an initial enlistment rank of E-1, E-2 or E-3 with 20 or more semester hours of credit from a degree-granting college or university. You may opt to earn a college degree first, then join as an officer.

What is the easiest military academy to get into? ›

At the ASVAB stage, the easiest military branch to join is the Army or Air Force. At the basic training stage, the easiest military branch to join is the Air Force.

What is the hardest military academy to get into? ›

United States Naval Academy

The United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, has a 9% acceptance rate. Applicants here also usually apply to the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Military Academy at West Point, and the United States Coast Guard Academy.

Who has the most well trained military? ›

Top 10 Best Trained Armies/Soldiers in the World
  • Britain – S RANGERS: In the 1970s, this army began to exist permanently. ...
  • Poland – POLISH GROM: Known as Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno-Manewrowego, or GROM. ...
  • Israeli – SHAYETET 13: The Israeli Navy has a division called Shayetet 13.
13 Sept 2022

How many years do you have to be in the military to get free college? ›

Those who have served at least 36 months or 30 continuous days prior to discharge for a service-connected disability can get maximum tuition and fees, a monthly housing stipend, and an annual stipend for books and supplies.

Is college free if you join the military? › highlights, “Not only does the military pay up to 100 percent of college tuition while you serve on active duty,” but it “also offers the GI Bill (about $36,000) to use for college up to 10 years after leaving the service.” The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing, up to ...

Do military kids get free college? ›

The GI Bill pays up to the full cost of in-state tuition and fees for public colleges for up to four academic years, or up to $17,500 per year for private colleges and foreign schools. To qualify for the maximum benefit, you must serve (or have served) at least 36 months since 9/11.

Which military branch has the best benefits? ›

The Army offers the highest base pay, while the Air Force offers more opportunities for special pay. So, it really depends on what you're looking for in a military career. If you want to make the most money possible, then the Army is probably the best branch for you.

Should I go to college or join the military? ›

Enlisting in the military first means gaining the opportunity to retire earlier, have college paid for and potentially avoiding student loans. On the other hand, graduating from college first and then enlisting may allow you to start off at a higher rank and pay grade, with more opportunities for leadership roles.

How do you get free college? ›

How to attend college for free
  1. Apply for grants and scholarships. ...
  2. Serve your country. ...
  3. Work for the school. ...
  4. Waive your costs. ...
  5. Have your employer pick up the costs. ...
  6. Choose an in-demand career. ...
  7. Attend a work college. ...
  8. Choose a school that pays you.
5 Jul 2022

What colleges are good but easy to get into? ›

10 Colleges With the Highest Acceptance Rates
  • Liberty University: 99%
  • Marshall University: 98%
  • University of New Mexico: 97%
  • Kansas State University: 96%
  • University of Maine: 96%
  • North Dakota State University: 95%
  • University of Memphis: 95%
  • University of Utah: 95%
2 Sept 2022

What college has the highest GPA requirement? ›

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill tops the list with an average reported GPA of 4.39. Note that not all colleges report GPA for their incoming class.

Which university in USA is easiest to get into? ›

Popular Colleges with High Acceptance Rates
RankCollegeAcceptance Rate
Rank 1College University of KentuckyAcceptance Rate 90.79%
Rank 2College University of KansasAcceptance Rate 93.01%
Rank 3College Kansas State UniversityAcceptance Rate 94.07%
Rank 4College Iona CollegeAcceptance Rate 91.46%
21 more rows
1 Nov 2018

What is the easiest degree with highest pay? ›

8 Easy Degrees That Pay Well
  • Business Administration. Business administration is one major that is usually considered “easy.” Some programs will also only take 3 years to finish! ...
  • English. ...
  • Human Resources. ...
  • Criminal Justice. ...
  • Marketing. ...
  • Supply Chain Management. ...
  • Psychology. ...
  • Communication.
6 Jul 2022

Can I get a degree in 1 year? ›

Answer to the above question is: Yes. Graduation in One Year program, pursued under lateral entry or credit transfer scheme, is absolutely valid. It is approved by UGC, AICTE, AIU & DEB.

What jobs make the most money with the least education? ›

  1. Police Officer. Although many police officers do have college degrees, the minimum educational requirement is a high school diploma. ...
  2. Commercial Pilot. ...
  3. Gaming Manager. ...
  4. Electrical Powerline Installer and Repairer. ...
  5. Elevator Installer and Repairer. ...
  6. Transportation Inspector.

What is the highest paying 2 year degree? ›

What Are the Highest-Paying Associate Degrees?
  • Electrical Engineering. ...
  • Aeronautics. ...
  • MRI Technology. ...
  • Radiology Technology. ...
  • Respiratory Therapy. ...
  • Occupational Therapy. ...
  • Mechanical Engineering. ...
  • Network Engineering. Network engineers design, administer, and maintain local and wide area network systems.

What degrees can you get online that pay well? ›

Best paying jobs you can get with an online degree
  • Business Management Degree. ...
  • Construction Technology Associate Degree. ...
  • Graphic Design Associate Degree. ...
  • Engineering Technology Associate Degree. ...
  • Human Resources Management Associate Degree. ...
  • Manufacturing Associate Degree. ...
  • Computer Information Systems Associate Degree.
7 Sept 2022

Do employers care if you have an online degree? ›

Online colleges are becoming more popular, but prospective students may still worry about their credibility. We're here to set the record straight: An online degree holds just as much weight as a traditional degree. In fact, data shows that most employers don't even differentiate between the two types of degrees.

Is Snhu military Friendly? ›

Manchester, N.H. (March 7, 2022) In recognition of its commitment to support military-affiliated learners, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) has been named a top 10 Military Friendly® School for 2022.

What Colleges Can I go to in the military? ›

There are six military colleges:
  • Texas A&M.
  • Norwich University.
  • Virginia Military Institute.
  • The Citadel.
  • Virginia Tech.
  • University of North Georgia.
13 Oct 2021

Do you get a degree from the military? ›

If you're planning on getting a degree in the military, you can utilize your existing knowledge to receive credits without ever stepping foot in the classroom. The military allows students to earn some of their degree with the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST).

Does Army pay for Phd? ›

Eligible Study Programs

Professional degrees such as a Ph. D., MD, or JD were listed as ineligible for the Army Tuition Assistance program. However, these degrees are required for hard to fill billets and are almost always in high demand. There are special programs to help Soldiers achieve these degrees.

Is New Hampshire military Friendly? ›

Summary of New Hampshire Military and Veterans Benefits: New Hampshire offers special benefits for Service members, Veterans and their Families including property tax credits and exemptions, war bonuses, state employment preferences, education and tuition assistance, special vehicle license plates, parking privileges, ...

Is SNHU yellow ribbon? ›

SNHU is a participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program for military personnel attending as online or on campus students.

Do spouses get military discounts? ›

For Family Members

Plus, you shouldn't have to be on hand for them to redeem the military discount. Your immediate family, including your spouse, father or mother, brother or sister, son or daughter can also get a VetRewards Card to show eligibility for VetRewards Exclusives.

What is the easiest military academy to get into? ›

At the ASVAB stage, the easiest military branch to join is the Army or Air Force. At the basic training stage, the easiest military branch to join is the Air Force.

What state is the most military friendly? ›

North Carolina is the most military friendly state in the nation. Governor Cooper is proud that North Carolina has the third largest military presence in the country, as well as more than 720,000 veterans who call our state home.

What is the War college? ›

The US Army War College educates and develops leaders for service at the strategic level while advancing knowledge in the global application of Landpower.

Is it better to be an officer or enlisted? ›

One of the biggest differences between enlisted service members and officers is their pay. While every grade and rank has a step-based pay structure, the enlisted salaries start much lower than the officer salaries, meaning over time, officers will earn substantially more in salary than enlisted personnel.

What rank would I be in the Army with a bachelor's degree? ›

If you choose to enlist in the Army with a bachelor's degree, you will enlist as an E-4 (Specialist). If you choose to take a commission, you will become an officer as an O-1 (Second Lieutenant).

What rank do you start out in the Army? ›

Private (E-1) Private, the lowest Army rank, normally is held only by new recruits while at Basic Combat Training (BCT), but the rank occasionally is assigned to soldiers after a disciplinary action has been taken. The Army private (E-1) wears no uniform insignia.

What rank is PhD in the Army? ›

You go in as a O-3 officer if you have a PhD. Which is lieutenant for Navy and captain for army etc.

What rank are military doctors? ›

If you enter as a licensed physician, your rank will typically begin at captain or major (Army/Air Force) or lieutenant or lieutenant commander (Navy), but it may be higher depending on where you are in your civilian career.

What rank do you enter the Army with a master's degree? ›

What rank do you need to enter the army with a master's degree? If you are being directly commissioned, a master's degree generally garners you the initial rank of 1LT. If you enlist, you'll start off usually as a SPC (E-4).

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Last Updated: 17/09/2023

Views: 6492

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Birthday: 1993-07-01

Address: Suite 763 6272 Lang Bypass, New Xochitlport, VT 72704-3308

Phone: +22014484519944

Job: Banking Officer

Hobby: Sailing, Gaming, Basketball, Calligraphy, Mycology, Astronomy, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Rev. Leonie Wyman, I am a colorful, tasty, splendid, fair, witty, gorgeous, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.