Continuing Education Resources for Veterans

Introduction

Everyone living in this country enjoys liberties made possible by the sacrifices of our armed forces veterans. Oftentimes, their personal and professional goals are put on hold as these men and women dedicate a portion, and sometimes the entirety, of their adult lives to serving our nation, at home and abroad. As one small form of repayment for the benefit of freedom that they provide us, the country is doing its part to provide the benefit of higher education to them. Through federal programs, state-level grants and scholarships, school-sponsored initiatives, and the work of various non-profit organizations, there are any number of opportunities for qualifying veterans to pursue and obtain a college degree.

We at Accredited Online Colleges want to do our part by helping you to navigate the sea of options and opportunities available to you as a veteran. This guide isn’t meant to be exhaustive. Instead, we want it to function as a valuable tool and one of many resources you use in your research. Our hope is that, by giving you an understanding of the tuition benefits afforded to you by the GI Bill, introducing you to additional supplemental funding options, and providing you with an extensively-researched list of veteran-friendly colleges, we can help to give you the best chance at success in your academic pursuits.

The GI Bills

The GI Bill is the single-most important resource for armed forces veterans looking to pursue a postsecondary education. While it does have its limitations, it goes the farthest in addressing all of the financial obligations associated with higher learning, from tuition, to books and supplies, and even housing. There are two separate versions of the GI Bill, each with its own history, benefits, and eligibility.

The Montgomery GI Bill

History: Like many key pieces of legislation still in effect today, the GI Bill has its roots in the Post-War America of the 1940s. After two global conflicts, the societal landscape of the country had changed. The American economy was still rebounding from a depression at a time when thousands of soldiers were returning from war – either disabled, jobless, or both — to a workforce that they didn’t fit into. In an effort to avoid the mistakes made in similar circumstances at the conclusion of the First World War, The Serviceman’s Readjustment Act was signed into law on June 22, 1944.

The law, which is now commonly known as the GI Bill, had several key provisions that guaranteed education, training, home or business loans, and unemployment compensation benefits for veterans. From 1944 until that original bill ended in 1956, the Veterans Administration backed nearly 2.4 million home loans, and veterans accounted for nearly 49 percent of all college admissions. The bill remained virtually unchanged until 1984, when Mississippi Congressman Gillespie V. Montgomery revamped it. His version of the act preserved the legacy and intent of the original, while also updating it to meet the needs of a new generation of veterans in the ever-changing landscape of education, home ownership, and employment. His version of the bill has since been referred to as “The Montgomery GI Bill.”

Eligibility: There are many factors which may qualify, or disqualify, you from being entitled to benefits under the MGIB. For the most current information, be sure to check with the Veterans Administration’s dedicated GI Bill website. However, in general, a veteran must establish MGIB eligibility in one of four categories:

Applicants

Requirements

Veterans who first entered active duty after June 30, 1985

  • Three continuous years of active duty
  • Two years of continuous active duty, if still on active duty
  • Didn’t decline the MGIB in writing

Veterans with remaining entitlement under the Vietnam Era GI Bill

  • Had remaining Vietnam Era GI Bill entitlement on December 31, 1989
  • Served certain dates on active duty
  • Weren’t commissioned as Service Academy Graduate or ROTC Scholarship Graduate.

Veterans with specific types of separation

  • Were involuntarily separated for certain reasons, and elected MGIB before being separated
  • Were involuntarily separated under the VSI or SSB program, elected MGIB before being separated, and military pay was reduced by $1,200 before separation

Individuals who were eligible to convert to MGIB from Post-Vietnam Era Educational Assistance Program

or

National Guard members who were given a short period to elect MGIB

  • Elected MGIB during one of the open window periods allowed by law
  • Service met specific requirements
  • Elected MGIB by July 9, 1997, and paid $1,200

All four categories also carry the following basic requirements:

  • A fully honorable discharge (unless active duty)
  • A high school diploma or equivalent

The Montgomery GI Bill also has provisions for reservists with a six-year obligation in the Selected Reserve. In order to qualify, the reservist must be actively drilling, enrolled in the program, and have paid $100 per month for the first 12 months of their service.

Entitlements

Tuition: The tuition assistance that qualifying veterans are entitled to under the Montgomery GI Bill can be used for:

  • college degree and certificate programs
  • technical or vocational courses
  • flight training
  • apprenticeships or on-the-job training
  • high-tech training
  • licensing and certification tests
  • entrepreneurship training
  • certain entrance examinations
  • correspondence courses

The amount of assistance provided varies depending on the type of training or education and enrollment status. Currently, the maximum payment rates for Category 1 veterans who have completed three years of active duty are as follows:

Type of Training

Monthly Rate

Institutional Training (Higher Education)

  • Full-time enrollment: $1,789.00
  • ¾ time enrollment: $1,341.75
  • ½ time enrollment: $894.50
  • ¼ time enrollment: $447.25

Apprenticeship and On-the-job Training

  • First six months: $1,341.75
  • Second six months: $983.95
  • Remainder of training: $626.15

Correspondence and Flight Training

  • Entitlement charged at the rate of one month for each $1,789.00 paid

Cooperative Training

  • $1,789.00

Again, payment rates vary based on the type of training, length of service, veteran category, college fund eligibility, and contributions to the $600 buy-up program (which increases the tuition payout in exchange for an extra payroll deduction).

Always check the VA’s current rate tables for the most current payments for all of the different categories and eligibilities.

Tests and Certification Exams: The MGIB also covers the costs of certain tests and examinations relating to education and job certification.

Exams

Benefit

National Admissions Tests

Examples:

  • SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test)
  • LSAT (Law School Admission Test)
  • GRE (Graduate Record Exam)
  • GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
  • AP (Advanced Placement Exam)
  • CLEP (College-Level Examination Program)
  • ACT (American College Testing Program)

(For a full list of approved tests, click here)

Students will be reimbursed for all mandatory testing fees.

Job-related Licensing or Certification

Examples:

  • CMA (Certified Medical Assistant)
  • Bar Exams
  • National Board Teaching Certification

(For a full list of approved tests, click here)

  • Full reimbursement up to $2,000 per test.
  • There is no limit to the number of tests. Remaining months of entitlement will be reduced based on the cost of the tests reimbursed.
  • Full reimbursed for retaking a failed test, or retaking a test for re-certification or to retain a currently-held license.

Limits: Of course, there are limitations to the entitlements provided by the Montgomery GI Bill:

  • Covers only up to 36 months of education benefits
  • Maximum of 10 years past discharge to use benefits
  • Only covers tuition and fees, not supplies or housing

The Post-9/11 GI Bill

History: In much the same way that World War II fundamentally changed the socio-economic and geo-political landscape of the 1940s, the events of September 11, 2001 shaped the beginning of the 21st century. Along with those terrorist attacks on American soil, came two new wars, a surge in military enlistment, and a new generation of veterans returning home to an economy edging toward a recession. Because of a new reality for veterans that was barely recognizable to the one just a generation before it, a massive campaign started to advocate for a new GI Bill.

Spearheaded by a united coalition of veterans’ organizations, and with the help of a bipartisan congressional group, a new GI Bill was drafted and signed into law by President George W. Bush on June 30, 2008. The new bill, commonly referred to as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, marked the greatest change and largest investment in veteran benefits since the original Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944. Along with changes in eligibility and increased benefits, the Post-9/11 Bill also includes provisions for housing and book allowances as well.

Eligibility: A key change to the Post-9/11 bill is the eligibility requirements for its entitlements. In order to be eligible for benefits, you must have served at least 90 aggregate days on active duty after September 10, 2001 (or 30 continuous days with an honorable discharge due to a service-connected disability). That 90 day service qualifies you for the minimum percentage of the payable benefit. Benefit payouts increase as service time increases according to the following chart:

Aggregate Active Duty After 9/11/2001

Percentage of Maximum Benefit Payable

At least 36 Months

100%

At least 30 continuous days and honorable discharge due to service-connected disability

100%

At least 30 months < 36 months

90%

At least 24 months < 30 months

80%

At least 18 months < 24 months

70%

At least 12 months < 18 months

60%

At least 6 months < 12 months

50%

At least 90 days < 6 months

40%

A select group of veterans may be eligible for benefits under both the Montgomery and Post-9/11 bills. However, using the Post-9/11 benefits may negate any remaining MGIB benefits. So, if there is the need or desire to use both, make sure to do the appropriate research as to the best course of action to take.

Fry Scholarship: It should also be noted that the children of a member of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001, may be eligible to receive Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits under the provisions of the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship. For more information, visit the Fry Scholarship page on the Veterans Administration website.

Benefits: Perhaps the biggest statement made by the Post-9/11 GI Bill was the country’s financial commitment to its veterans. The new version of the bill dramatically increases the amount of potential tuition benefits. It eliminates the monthly payments and reimbursements of the Montgomery GI Bill, opting instead for upfront tuition payments to the school on the veteran’s behalf, as well as providing funds for books and housing.

The tuition benefits of the Post-9/11 Bill can be used for the same type of education and training as the MGIB: degree programs, flight training, vocational courses, apprenticeships, etc. The payments cover the full cost of tuition and fees for the programs with the following maximums (based on 100% eligibility):

Type of Training

Maximum Tuition and Fee Reimbursement

College

  • Public, In-state: All tuition and fees
  • Public, Out-of-State: $21,084.89 per academic year
  • Private: $21,084.89 per academic year

Non-college Degree Granting Institutions

  • $21,084.89 per academic year

Apprenticeship and On-the-job Training

  • First six months: 100% of MHA
  • Second six months: 80% of MHA
  • Third six months: 60% of MHA
  • Fourth six months: 40% of MHA
  • Remaining: 20% of MHA

Correspondence School

  • $10,241.22 per academic year

Vocational Flight Training

  • $12,048.50 per academic year

Again, always check with the VA for the current rate tables.

Tests and Certification Exams: Like the Montgomery bill, the Post-9/11 bill will also reimburse the cost of any required national school placement tests, and also for job-related certification and licensing exams. The new bill reimburses up to $2,000 per test. However, it should be noted that you will be charged one month of entitlement for every $1,759.08 paid. So, even low-cost test will be charged a full month. You may want to consider this when seeking reimbursement.

Books and Supplies: One new provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill not addressed in previous versions is a yearly stipend for books and school-related supplies. Veterans are entitled to a yearly payment of $1,000, proportional to enrollment. So if you’re taking less than a full course load, your book stipend will be less than the full entitlement.

Monthly Housing Allowance: Another attractive addition to the Post-9/11 bill is the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) that it provides. In general, the MHA is paid at the same rate as the military’s Basic Allowance for Housing (BHA) for an E-5 with dependents. The BHA reflects the current household rental costs in any given market, so they vary by location. For that reason, calculating the Monthly Housing Allowance is based on the ZIP code of the school.

There are a few exceptions to the MHA:

Enrollment

MHA Rate

Foreign School

$1,566.00

Distance Learning (no classroom instruction)

$783.00

Part-time (1/2 time or less)

Not Payable

Active Duty Trainee

Not Payable

State-Level Veteran Benefits

Aside from the Federal benefits afforded to veterans by the GI Bill, many states also offer their own programs for tuition assistance or reimbursement. These can be used in addition to, or as an alternative to the federal programs depending on your needs and qualifications. Many of these programs cover the gaps in financial obligations left by the GI Bill, while others service groups excluded from its entitlements, such as many categories of National Guard members.

Here’s a sample of some state-level programs available:

State

Benefit

Alabama

Alabama National Guard Educational Benefit: Tuition reimbursement of $500 per semester or quarter. No more than $1,000 annually.

Eligibility: Army National Guard service member.

Arizona

Arizona Tuition and Fees Deferred Payment: A veteran who has applied for educational benefits under the G.I. Bill and is attending a state-supported college or university may defer payment of tuition, fees and required books for a period of 120 days with no interest charges while waiting for benefit approval and payment.

Eligibility: An Arizona veteran or an eligible dependent.

Arkansas

Spouse/dependent Benefits for POW/MIA/KIA: Free tuition and fees at any state-supported school to the wife and children of any Arkansan who has been declared to be POW, MIA, or KIA since Jan. 1, 1960.

Eligibility: Surviving spouse and children of any Arkansas resident declared missing in action, prisoner of war, or killed in action since 1960.

Virginia

Virginia National Guard Tuition Assistance: Up to 100% tuition at state and community colleges.

Eligibility: Air/Army National Guard.

Always be sure to check with your state Department of Education and Veteran’s Affairs offices for any special application or eligibility requirements.

For a complete listing of current benefits by state, use the map below.

Data Source: http://www.legion.org/education/statebenefits

Additional Funding Options

As if the time, training, commitment, and courage that it takes to serve in this nation’s armed forces didn’t already put our veterans in a class of their own, their military service also puts them in a unique category when it comes to securing additional funding for higher education. Veterans have access to many school-sponsored initiatives, state-level programs, scholarships, and grants that aren’t available to other students.

Yellow Ribbon Program: The Post-9/11 GI Bill only covers the full tuition costs for in-state students attending public institutions. If you choose to attend a school outside of your home state, or a private institution, you may face higher tuition costs that exceed the maximum payable benefit of the bill. However, you shouldn’t let that potential financial burden discourage you from enrolling in one of those programs if your research determines that it is the best one to fit your educational and career goals. Where the GI Bill funding may fall short, initiatives like the Yellow Ribbon Program may help to cover that gap.

Schools that voluntarily participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program may provide tuition assistance that could cover up to 50% of the extra costs. Additionally, the VA will match the school’s Yellow Ribbon contribution dollar-for-dollar, further lowering the financial burden.

Application for the program is processed

Eligibility: The Yellow Ribbon program is available to veterans qualified at the 100% benefit level, or their designated transferees. Dependents of veterans and active duty service members who have had Post-9/11 GI Bill entitlements transferred to them can participate in the program.

Those not eligible for the program include:

  • Active duty service members
  • Spouses
  • Veterans qualified below the 100% rate

Eligibility does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Since the Yellow Ribbon Program is voluntary, the school ultimately has discretion when choosing how to distribute the funds. Their agreement with the VA may limit the number of participants, and the amount of money awarded can vary based on any number of criteria decided upon by the institution. Because of this, acceptance into the program is often determined on a first-come, first-served basis. And acceptance into the program one year does not guarantee acceptance the next.

Be sure to check with your school’s Veterans Services office or resource center for complete information on their participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Yellow Ribbon Schools By State

Data Source: http://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/yellow_ribbon/yrp_list_2015.asp

Federal Grants:

The government also offers several grants that veterans can take advantage of. Federal grants are most often awarded to students based on financial need and a specific set of criteria. Unlike federal student loans, grant money does not need to be repaid.

Pell Grants: Pell Grants are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or a professional degree. The amount of money awarded (if any) is based on financial need, tuition cost, and enrollment status. However, the maximum award is $5,775.

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant: If your parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. armed forces and died as a result of military service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11, and you were under 24 years old (or enrolled in college at least part-time) at that time, you may be eligible for the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. The grant award is equal to the amount of a maximum Federal Pell Grant.

Teach Grant: Depending on your desired career path, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant may be an option for you. This program provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing coursework for a teaching degree. The stipulations of the program require that specific teaching-related courses be taken, and a specified number of years are spent working as a teacher after graduation. If those requirements aren’t met, the grant turns into a loan and must be repaid.

Scholarships:

Like grants, scholarships are gifts that don’t require repayment. But unlike grants, which mostly come from public sector, scholarship money comes from countless different sources — schools, employers, private companies, nonprofits organizations, religious groups, etc. – for any number of reasons. Every scholarship has its own criteria and application process. Some are merit-based, while others are based on financial need. There are scholarships for academics, athletics, special talents, unique skills, and uncommon interests. Basically, you never know who is giving away free money for a quality you may already possess. And as a veteran, you qualify for several scholarship opportunities not available to those who never served in the armed forces.

Finding Scholarships: The hardest part about applying for a scholarship is finding it. With so many opportunities offered by so many different organizations, there is no single source for information. As such, it will take some digging on your part, with a basic internet search being the most-likely first step.

However, be warned that there are many scholarship scams swimming around in the murky waters of the internet. The easiest way to avoid them is to never pay for commercial financial aid services or for scholarship search results. The U.S. Department of Education also recommends avoiding any scholarships that charge an application fee. These scholarships can still show up in the results of free scholarship searches. Scholarship money is meant to be given away to make the cost of higher education cheaper for the recipient. Paying to find them is counter-intuitive and not what the benefactors intended.

To be safe, do not pay for help of any kind. There are enough free reliable resources to help you find potential scholarships that you will never have to resort to anything else.

Your safest, most reliable sources for scholarship information, and best places to start, will always be:

There are also a number of reliable free internet scholarship search engines, such as:

Transferring Benefits

Not every veteran has college aspirations, or the need for any vocational training outside of their current job, which may be continued military service. In those instances, it may possible to transfer the education benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill to a spouse or dependent, rather than forfeiting them or letting them expire. The Department of Defense has the ultimate discretion as to whether or not a benefit can be transferred, but if the Transfer of Entitlement request is approved, eligible service members can transfer all or a portion of their 36 months of education benefits to:

  • A spouse
  • One or more children
  • Any combination of spouse and child

Eligibility: The option to transfer entitlements has different eligibility requirements than the standard service times for veteran benefit use under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. In order to submit a transfer of entitlement request, the service member must be active duty and meet one of the following requirements:

  • At least six years of service in the armed forces, and agrees to serve four additional years from the date of election.
  • At least 10 years of service in the armed forces, is precluded by either standard policy or statute from committing to four additional years, and agrees to serve for the maximum amount of time allowed by such policy or statute.
  • Retirement-eligible and agrees to serve an additional four years of service on or after Aug. 1, 2012.

The DOD also recognizes that relationships can change. Couples may get divorced and children may marry. Those instances do not affect the eligibility of a transferee. A divorced spouse, or a married child, can still use the benefits that were transferred to them. However, it is important to note that even after a transfer has been made, the service member has the right to reassign or revoke any or all portions of the benefit at any time.

Limitations: Once a transfer has been approved, entitled family members can apply separately to use the benefits. However, transferred benefits are subject to different rules than when used by veterans themselves. The Department of Defense places different limitations on entitlements for both spouses and children:

Transferee

Limits

Spouse

  • May use the benefit immediately
  • May use the benefit while the member remains in the Armed Forces or after leaving active duty
  • Not eligible for the monthly housing allowance while the service member is serving on active duty
  • Can use the benefit for up to 15 years after the service member leaves active duty

Children

  • May use the benefit only after the service member has completed at least 10 years of service
  • May use the benefit while the eligible individual remains in the armed forces or after leaving active duty
  • May not use the benefit until after attaining a high school diploma (or equivalent), or until 18 years of age
  • Is entitled to the monthly housing allowance even though the service member is on active duty
  • Is not subject to the 15-year usage limit, but may not use the benefit after reaching 26 years of age

Be sure to check with the Department of Defense website for any and all information on transferring Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

GI Bill Calculator

Distance Learning

As technology has advanced, so has the availability, respectability, and convenience of online education. Today, more and more students are turning to distance learning to obtain college degrees. And aside from the convenient schedules that online programs often provide, they also have many inherent benefits for veterans and their families who are using GI Bill entitlements.

  • Tuition: The Post-9/11 GI Bill entitles its recipients to full tuition coverage at public, in-state schools. If a student enrolls in a public school outside of their home state, the bill only covers the tuition up to a maximum in-state rate. Because most schools charge higher tuition rate for out-of-state students, this often leaves the student with a substantial financial obligation. However, as more schools adapt their programs to a 100% online model, their degree programs can be easily accessed and completed by students nationwide without ever having to step foot on campus. As such, the concept of the resident versus non-resident student is changing. A steadily-growing number of schools now charge the same lower in-state tuition rate to out-of-state students for their distance learning programs. This increases the chances that out-of-state veteran students will have the full tuition price covered by their in-state GI Bill maximum payments, allowing them to choose the program that is perfect for them regardless of residency.
  • Monthly Housing Allowance: The Post-9/11 GI Bill does provide a housing allowance for distance learning students, although it is at a lower rate than for those attending traditional campus-based programs. Currently, the bill provides a monthly MHA stipend of $783.00 for veterans. However, there are different limitations on the MHA for the recipients of transferred benefits while the service member is still active duty.
  • The children of active duty service members are still eligible for a monthly housing allowance, but the spouse of an active duty member is not. However, one of the most attractive aspects of an online degree program is the ability to take classes from the comfort of your own home without having to relocate or attend in-person. By their very nature, distance learning eliminates the need for a separate housing allowance to attend any out-of-state school.
  • For those looking for the perfect online program that would fall within the tuition provisions of the GI Bill, be sure to check out our numerous resource guides.

Choosing the Right Program

Understanding your benefits as a veteran is the first step in learning how to maximize them. Both the Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bills have tuition provisions for college, vocational programs, flight training, correspondence courses, and apprenticeships. As far as tuition costs go, more money is paid out by the VA in the pursuit of higher education than any of the other covered training. While college may not be for everyone, from a strictly financial perspective, a college degree is the maximum use your GI Bill benefits.

However, along with costing more, college presents the largest amount of choices to narrow down in choosing a program. Even after you decide on an area of study, there are still numerous other factors to consider before enrolling in any school.

Complete List of Rated Programs

At Accredited Online Colleges, we want to make that decision easier by providing a thoroughly-researched list of what we’ve determined to be the top veteran-friendly schools. We’ve applied our unique methodology to the list of over 30,000+ schools included in the VA’s GI Bill Benefits Comparison Tool and narrowed it down to the ones where we think you will have the most chance of success.

Methodology

  • Non-profit: We started off by narrowing down the list of schools to only those that were non-profit institutions of higher education. By eliminating for-profit schools – who tend to charge much higher rates than their traditional, non-profit counterparts – the chances increase that the entire cost of tuition will be covered by the provisions of the GI Bill. For-profit schools also have a growing negative reputation for being disreputable, having poor education standards, and low graduation rates. Generally, they are not worth the excessive tuition costs and are best avoided when there are so many quality and affordable non-profit options available.
  • Accreditation: The first step in determining the legitimacy and respectability of an institution is to check their accreditation. This means that an outside body has assessed the school and their curriculum to ensure that it meets high, measurable standards for education. We removed any schools from our list that either did not have accreditation, did not provide the information, or had a probationary status with their accrediting body.
  • Default Rates: Salary varies greatly depending on area of study and career choice. Also, since there are different tuition benefit levels and limits under the GI Bill, there is a chance that some veterans may still accumulate student loans throughout their studies So in order to apply a financial metric to our grading, we chose to research the ability of graduates to pay their student debt in order to get a better picture of employment after graduation. Default rates refer to students who miss payments within two fiscal years of entering their repayment period. We eliminated schools with default rates above 20%.
  • Response Grade: One of our most common metrics when grading any programs is a response grade, or how quickly and satisfactorily the reply to inquiries for information. We felt this was especially important for veterans as there are many more questions that may arise in the application and processing of GI Bill paperwork. Schools with failing response grades were removed from our list.
  • Veteran Population: We gave special preference to schools that had a higher number of GI Bill beneficiaries in their student population. Schools with more attending veterans are more likely to have the resources needed to not only process all of the necessary GI Bill paperwork, but also provide the extra support that veterans need to succeed in higher education.

All of these filters narrowed the list down to the top 1000 veteran-friendly schools in the nation. You can use the map below to see a listing of the best schools for each state:

Top 15 Veteran-Friendly Schools

Of course, we realize that 1000 schools is still an enormous number to search through. In order to do give you an easier starting point, we applied stricter metrics to that list in order to narrow it down ever further. In doing so, we have compiled a ranking of the top 15 veteran-friendly schools in the country.

Methodology

  • Graduation Rate: One of the clearest indicators of student success is a school’s graduation rate. We wanted to set our standards as high as you would expect them to be for our veterans, so we set a threshold of at least a 74% graduation rate.
  • Veterans Groups: Schools with active veterans groups on campus received special consideration on this list. Veterans with a support group made up of their peers have a higher chance at success in their studies.
  • Principles of Excellence: We eliminated schools that were not a part Principles of Excellence Program. Participating schools provide additional support to veterans through personalized forms, educational plans, and special accommodations.
  • Yellow Ribbon: As previously covered, the Yellow Ribbon program provides extra financial assistance to veterans to cover any gaps in tuition coverage through the GI Bill. Any schools without a Yellow Ribbon program were removed from this list.
  • 8 Keys to Success: The Choice Act of 2014 allows the VA to disapprove payments of education benefits to any schools that charge qualifying veterans rates higher than those for resident students. The 8 Keys to Success program is for schools who agree not to those terms. Schools not participating were removed from our list.
  • DOD Memorandum of Understanding: The Memorandum of Understanding is a voluntary education partnership between schools and the department of defense. Schools that sign the MOU agree to certain DOD standards in order to collect military assistance tuition funds. We eliminated any schools that did not have a current DOD MOU.

These strict filters gave us the following list:

Rank

College

City

State

1

University of Virginia-main Campus

Charlottesville

VA

2

University of California-Los Angeles

Los Angeles

CA

3

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor

MI

4

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill

NC

5

University of Maryland College Park

College Park

MD

6

Ohio State University-Main Campus

Columbus

OH

7

Syracuse University

Syracuse

NY

8

Fordham University at Lincoln Center

New York

NY

9

Rutgers University

New Brunswick

NJ

10

Michigan State University

East Lansing

MI

11

Indiana University-Bloomington

Bloomington

IN

12

Florida State University

Tallahassee

FL

13

Florida State University-Panama City

Panama City

FL

14

Quinnipiac University

Hamden

CT

15

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Raleigh

NC

More Resources

Like all of our guides, this one is intended to be one of many resources you use in your college search. There are many other quality resources available that, when used in conjunction with this guide, can help answer any questions you have and provide the support you need as you transition into the world of higher education.

Higher Educational Resources

  • GED Testing Service: A joint venture between the American Council on Education (ACE) and Pearson, the world’s largest education and testing company, the GED Testing Service provides study materials, exam prep, and online high school equivalency testing.
  • U.S. Department of Education: The Department of Education has resources dedicated specifically for veterans looking to take advantage of their education benefits, including information on financial aid, career training services, and several educational programs.
  • DANTES: The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) is a Department of Defense agency that provides support to student veterans through partnerships across the education community.
  • VetSuccess on Campus: As a part of the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services, the VSOC programs provides specialized on-campus counselors for veterans at participating schools.
  • Military Veterans Resource Center: Originally conceived as a jobs agency for veterans, this non-profit organization has expanded their scope to provide information and services to veterans and their families in a wide variety of areas, including health, financial, legal, and education.
  • Veterans Coming Home: As a partnership between the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Wisconsin Public Television, Veterans Coming Home leverages the strength of public media to create, gather, and share the best free resources for veterans, including educational information.

Disabled Veterans Resources

Disabled veterans are entitled the same provisions under the GI Bill as their fellow service members and even qualify for benefits at the full rate regardless of their aggregate active duty time for their service-connected disabilities. However, because of the extra challenges that disabled students face, there are more provisions guaranteed to them through the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

For a complete resource on your rights as a disabled student, be sure to check out our own extensive Disabilities Guide. [Insert link to Disabilities Guide]

There are also a number of non-profit and advocacy groups for both student and non-student disabled veterans: