Flexible class schedules and the ability to complete your degree in stages makes online colleges an excellent choice for military men and women, and their spouses. In addition, military members may find that online learning allows them to:
Work according to their own schedule, allowing them to continue working for the service or caring for their families.
Relocate frequently or quickly, an essential feature for those performing important functions in the military.
If you or your spouse has served in any branch of the service, there are many military-friendly colleges for you to choose from. Here are ten that graduate thousands of military members every year. A number of these institutions participate in The Yellow Ribbon program, a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill which provides free tuition to eligible veterans.
All of these colleges have received awards for their commitment to educating military members and their spouses. Note: Military enrollment figures are based on the Military Times 2014 "Best for Vets" list of colleges, and are based on 2012 total enrollment numbers.
- Bellevue University
Bellevue University requires candidates to start with 60 college credit hours, but military members are given the opportunity to earn those credits with their previous training and certifications. Military Exclusive tuition rates and military-specific scholarship opportunities help to make degrees more affordable for those who have served and who are currently serving. Staff members from the Military Veteran Service Center provide career counseling and mentoring for military members transitioning from active duty to civilian life. Bellevue University enrolls 2,270 active military members and veterans out of 9,611 total students.
Awards: In 2014, U.S. News and World Report ranked Bellevue University #6 in their list of top online Bachelor's programs for veterans.
- Central Michigan University
The Global Campus of Central Michigan University offers classroom instruction at military bases across the country in addition to online degrees, making it easier to meet military obligations while obtaining a Bachelor's or Master's degree. CMU also offer a military tuition discount for active members of any branch of the military, as well as their spouses and adult dependent children.
Awards: Central Michigan University was ranked #1 in U.S. News and World Report's 2014 list of top online Bachelor's programs for veterans.
- Drexel University
Drexel is part of a small number of online colleges that put no cap on the number of military members who may enroll through the Yellow Ribbon program. Discounted tuition rates of 10 to 30 percent are also available for military personnel, veterans and their immediate families. In addition to affordability, Drexel translates military experience into college credits using the transcript services of the American Council on Education.
Awards: U.S. News and World Report named Drexel the 13th best college for online Bachelor's programs for veterans.
- ECPI University
In addition to being a Yellow Ribbon-participating school, ECPI offers several scholarship programs to ensure that military members, veterans and their families can afford tuition. ECPI has partnerships with the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corp, and the Army to provide professional military education that can lead to degrees in relevant fields, such as Computer and Information Science and Criminal Justice. ECPI enrolls 3,251 active military members and veterans out of a total of 9,840 students.
Awards: ECPI University was ranked #1 by The Military Times in their "Best for Vets" list of online colleges.
- Excelsior College
The LtCol Bryant A. Murray Veterans Center at Excelsior College aims to educate veterans on financial aid and provide support as they transition from serving their country to getting a degree. Excelsior College has an extensive Military Tuition Assistance program, and provides enrollment options that give military members breaks on administration fees for specific courses. Excelsior College enrolls 15,069 active military members and veterans out of a total of 36,331 students.
Awards: Excelsior College was ranked #2 by The Military Times in their "Best for Vets" list of online colleges.
- Iowa State University
Military members and veterans are evaluated for credit transfer at Iowa State University based on the American Council on Education's guidelines. The Veterans Center at ISU provides a place for veterans to connect with their fellow vets and get assistance transitioning into a university setting.
Awards: Iowa State University ranked #3 in OnlineCollege's list of schools by flexibility rating.
- Liberty University
In order to better serve the needs of military members, Liberty University staffs a team of experts to process the array of military tuition discounts and benefits they have to offer. Trained staff also evaluates military training and experience for college credit based on the American Council on Education's recommendations. Of the 105,670 total student population, Liberty University enrolls 19,258 active military members and veterans.
Awards: Liberty University was ranked #6 by the Military Times in their "Best for Vets" list of online colleges.
- Troy University
Educational partnerships with the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard allow military members to apply their previous training and experience towards high-demand degrees at Troy University. Trained staff are on hand to help military members navigate their tuition assistance program and provide other support services. Troy University enrolls 5,296 active military members and veterans out of a total population of 29,383 students.
Awards: Troy University was ranked #5 by the Military Times in their "Best for Vets" list of online colleges.
- The University of New Mexico
The Veterans Resource Center at The University of New Mexico offers a Vet 2 Vet Peer Mentoring program, a Veterans Transition Course, and other resources to help bolster retention rates of veteran students. UNM also offers several scholarships for active duty military members, veterans, and their children.
Awards: The University of New Mexico ranked #8 in OnlineCollege's list of schools by flexibility rating.
- The University of South Florida
Thanks to the Florida GI Bill, out-of-state tuition is waived for qualified vets, but the University of South Florida doesn't stop there. The VetSuccess program, created in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs, gives veterans access to counselors who assist with transitioning to college life, career counseling and other support services.
Awards: The University of South Florida Tampa made it to #1 in OnlineCollege's list of schools by flexibility rating.
Many veterans and those currently serving choose to complete their degrees online. Find the program that's right for you by conducting your own research using trustworthy and comprehensive online tools, such as the OnlineCollege's Top Online Colleges tool.
- Bellevue University, http://www.bellevue.edu/military
- "Best for Vets: Colleges 2014," http://projects.militarytimes.com/jobs/best-for-vets/2014/colleges/online-nontraditional/
- "Best Online Bachelor's Programs for Veterans," http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/bachelors/veteran-rankings
- "Best Online Colleges," http://oedb.org/rankings/
- Central Michigan University, http://global.cmich.edu/military/
- Drexel University, http://www.drexel.com/Military-Degrees
- ECPI University, http://www.ecpi.edu/military/
- Excelsior College, http://www.excelsior.edu/military
- Iowa State University, https://www.admissions.iastate.edu/military/index.php
- Liberty University, http://www.liberty.edu/administration/militaryaffairs/
- Troy University, http://www.troy.edu/military/military-trojans.html
- The University of New Mexico, http://www.usf.edu/student-affairs/veterans/
- The University of South Florida, http://www.usf.edu/student-affairs/veterans/