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Top 10 Military-Friendly Colleges in America

Military students at Liberty University cheer during a 2017 football game. Credit: Nathan Spencer.

There’s no doubt that college is one of the best resources available to military families. The GI Bill, college credits through training, and the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account are just three avenues that the military provides to college education. 

However, making the choice of which college to go to can be a hard one. With the average military family PCSing every two to three years, attending a brick-and-mortar college is nearly impossible. 

These 14 colleges all offer online programs, and access to government Tuition Assistance (TA). They’re also some of the most military-friendly colleges in America. 


1. Columbia Southern University 

CSU is a member of GoArmyEd and the Air Force’s Air University Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative program. They also provide: 

  • Specialized military support counseling
  • Career development resources
  • TA and VA benefits assistance 
  • Math and writing assistance 
  • An Office of Disability Services 

Annual tuition: $6,750


2. American Public University System 

APUS is art of the Yellow Ribbon Program, meaning they give additional tuition funds to military veterans without an extra charge to their GI Bill. Additionally, there is:

  • A tuition grant
  • Free textbooks
  • Technology fees covered by grants 
  • Transfer credits from military education and training

Annual tuition: $8,100


3. Arizona State University 

ASU was ranked as a Best for Vets College by the Military Times this year. They also have some of the best online and on-campus programs in the world, and some of the best veteran resources, including:

  • The Pat Tillman Veterans Center
  • A Chinese Flagship-ROTC Program that prepares students to become cross-cultural officers in the military
  • Counseling for your GI Bill benefits
  • Annual Salute to Service celebrations

Annual tuition: $10,104


4. Old Dominion University 

25% of ODU students are affiliated with the military, and it’s for a reason. They offer: 

  • A Military Connection Center
  • Top-of-the-line Army and Navy ROTC programs
  • Specific online programs for military 
  • Generous credits awarded for military training

Annual tuition: $11,670


5. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University 

Many military pilots start their careers are Embry-Riddle; understandably, they foster close relationships with active military and veterans. Embry-Riddle can provide: 

  • Transferability, from a worldwide university 
  • Real-time Web Video conferencing for online students
  • Yellow Ribbon Scholarship
  • GoArmyEd, Navy College Program, and Air Force portal opportunities 

Annual tuition: $11,700


6. Liberty University 

LU has an ingrained military community, and thus an abundance of resources. Among them are: 

  • Military degree plans, scholarships, tuition assistance and transferrable credits
  • Military resource library and tutoring for military students
  • Office of Military Affairs and Veterans Center
  • ROTC, Troops to Teachers, Chaplain Candidate program

Annual tuition: $11,700


7. Bellevue University 

As one of the top-rated military-friendly colleges in America, Bellevue University could be the school for you. Their unique opportunities include:

  • Accelerated degrees for active military
  • Generous military credit transfer and fast courses
  • Career counseling, mentoring, and housing assistance
  • On-campus, online, or on-base classes 
  • Career-relevant degrees with industry experts 

Annual tuition: $13,280


8. University of Maryland University College 

UMUC – conveniently located in a military-populated area – still offers online and hybrid classes, like the rest of this list. They are also renowned for their military programs. 

  • Specialized staff trained on military and veteran benefits
  • Fast-tracked degrees with military training and experience
  • Tuition Assistance compatibility and reduced tuition rates for military
  • Admissions advisors and military leadership dedicated to helping you

Annual tuition: $14,970


9. University of South Florida 

Tampa, FL is a big military area, and USF is committed to serving our service members. They have:

  • An Office of Veteran Success
  • Out-of-state tuition waivers
  • ROTC programs for every military branch
  • ROTC living-learning community for immersive military training

Annual tuition: $17,324


10. University of Southern California 

USC may be a big school, but in a state with over 30 military bases, it’s a contender for one of the best military-friendly colleges in America. Programs there include:

  • State-of-the-art military and veterans research to improve health and well-being of military families
  • Military Academic Center
  • Faculty trained in military issues, including PTSD and mental health
  • Annual military/veteran summits and conferences

Annual tuition: $19,872


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