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For those who have served or are serving in the military, finding the right college can be challenging. Fortunately, there are universities that are designed to fit the busy lifestyles of veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their families. By offering flexible schedules and specialized resources, these colleges help veterans and military personnel achieve their educational and career goals.

This article will discuss the five best military-friendly online colleges that offer accredited, high-quality degree programs that prepare students for successful careers. Whether you want a business, healthcare, education, or technology degree, these colleges have got you covered.

Universities to Consider

Western Governors University (WGU) is a great option for those seeking higher education. WGU offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. On average, undergraduate tuition at WGU is a mere $8,010 per year, 48% lower than the national average, while graduate tuition is $8,444 per year. With over 119,000 students currently enrolled online, you’ll be joining a thriving community of learners and educators.

WGU offers an impressive selection of accredited bachelor’s and master’s programs, so you’re sure to find the right fit for your academic goals. Plus, WGU accepts transfer credits, so you can build on your existing education and experience, and equips every student with a Program Mentor to support your journey.

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), known for its innovative approach to education, has diverse academic programs catering to students seeking undergraduate or graduate degrees. The university offers over 300 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, with the option of taking classes online. Its undergraduate tuition is $9,900 per year, while graduate tuition is $12,000 on average. For active military, the cost per credit is around $231 for undergraduate courses and $470 for graduate courses. SNHU is adaptable and recognizes the previous coursework completed by transfer students, allowing them to transfer up to 90 credits toward their degree.

Liberty University offers undergraduate and graduate students various study programs, catering to different educational needs and career paths. The average annual undergraduate, in-state tuition fee is $22,511, and the average annual, in-state graduate tuition fee is $8,405. Undergraduate students pay a rate of $546 per credit hour and graduate students pay $475 per credit hour. The university offers 405 bachelor’s degree programs and 242 graduate programs to suit different student needs. Transfer credits are accepted at Liberty, making it easier for students to transfer from other institutions to pursue their desired majors.

Arizona State University (ASU) is a highly reputable institution known for offering some of the best educational opportunities in the state of Arizona. ASU’s average undergraduate tuition is competitive with other universities in the area at $11,618 per year for undergraduate degrees and $12,914 for graduate programs. Students can choose from over 150 bachelor and graduate programs, ensuring that they can pursue a degree in their field of interest. ASU also accepts transfer credits, allowing students to transfer their college credits and complete their degrees.

The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) has a strong reputation for providing high-quality education to its students, both online and in-person. For those pursuing an undergraduate degree, the average annual tuition is $7,848 and $9,522 for a graduate degree. Additionally, the average cost per credit is more affordable than many other schools, costing $318 per credit at the undergraduate level and $524 per credit at the graduate level.

With a large number of students enrolled online, UMGC offers flexibility for those with busy schedules or who live far from campus. It also boasts an impressive number of bachelor’s and graduate programs, providing students with a wide range of options to pursue their academic and career goals. Finally, UMGC accepts transfer credits, making it a great choice for those looking to continue their education or finish their degree.

Cost of Online College

When it comes to choosing a college, many factors come into play. One of the most significant is affordability. For students who rely on financial aid or scholarships, finding a college that fits into their budget is crucial. However, even with assistance, some colleges may not be completely covered, leading to considerable debt after graduation. So, it’s important to weigh the costs against the benefits before deciding.

Financial Aid for Veterans and Military Service Members

The GI Bill

The GI Bill is a federal program that has helped military personnel secure their future after serving the country. It was first passed in 1944 as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act to provide educational and financial assistance to veterans returning home from World War II. Since then, it has been expanded and updated to include various benefits such as tuition assistance, housing allowances, and job training programs. These benefits are not just limited to veterans but are also available to active-duty service members, reservists, and their families.

The GI Bill has helped countless individuals acquire the skills and education needed to pursue their desired careers. It’s a remarkable program that recognizes the sacrifices made by our military personnel and invests in their future.

Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon Program is a federal initiative providing military service members and their eligible dependents with tuition assistance beyond what the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides. This program was created in response to the rising cost of college tuition and aims to assist veterans in pursuing higher education without the financial burden.

Through the Yellow Ribbon Program, universities and colleges agree to match a portion of the tuition expenses not covered by the GI Bill and the VA then matches this amount. Overall, this program can help alleviate military households’ financial stress while pursuing educational opportunities.

Military Tuition Assistance

The Military Tuition Assistance program is a valuable resource for individuals serving in the armed forces, providing financial assistance for their education. This federal program offers funding for tuition, books, and other educational expenses, allowing service members to pursue their academic goals while still meeting the demands of their military duties.

The Military Tuition Assistance program helps to ensure that those in the military can further their education and enhance their skill sets, which can be beneficial for both their military careers and their future civilian careers. By investing in the education of our service members, the Military Tuition Assistance program is a testament to the value we place on their sacrifice and commitment.

Scholarships and Grants

As a member of the military, many scholarships and grants are available to help you achieve your academic goals. These scholarships and grants are designed to provide financial assistance to those who have served or are currently serving in the military. Some of the most popular scholarships and grants include the Military Heroes Fund and The Pat Tillman Foundation. These scholarships and grants are national, can be applied to any institution, and cover various educational expenses, from tuition to books and supplies.

Additionally, many colleges and universities offer military scholarships and grants to help ease the transition into civilian life. Whether you are a veteran or an active-duty service member, plenty of scholarship and grant opportunities are available to help you pursue the education you want and deserve.

Support for Military Families

If you’re a spouse or family member of a military member, you might be wondering if you qualify for any assistance programs. Luckily, there are several programs out there to help you. For example, the Department of Defense offers a program called the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA), which provides up to $4,000 in financial assistance for education and training programs.

Additionally, Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a range of benefits for family members of military members, including education and career counseling, healthcare, and disability compensation. While it can be difficult to navigate the complex world of military benefits, resources are available to help you take advantage of them.

Military-Friendly Online Colleges FAQs

Can you do online college while in the military?

Yes, pursuing an online degree while serving in the military is possible. With the advancement of technology, online education has become a convenient option for individuals who are unable to attend traditional classes. Military personnel face unique challenges while pursuing higher education due to their demanding scheduling and frequent relocation.

However, online colleges provide the flexibility and accessibility needed to complete coursework independently and from any location. Many universities offer specific programs and resources to assist military personnel in achieving their academic goals.

Should I join the military or go to college first?

Deciding whether to join the military or attend college is a big decision. It’s important to consider your long-term goals and what you hope to gain from each experience. Joining the military can provide valuable skills, discipline, and the opportunity for travel and adventure.

However, college can offer a broader education and more career opportunities in the civilian world. It’s also important to consider your personal values and beliefs, as the military may not align with everyone’s views. Ultimately, it’s important to weigh both options carefully and decide to align with your goals and values.

What degree should I get while in the military?

When it comes to deciding on a degree to pursue while in the military, it’s important to consider your long-term career goals. If you’re interested in advancing within the military or transitioning to a civilian career, you may want to consider pursuing a degree in a field that aligns with your interests and skills. For example, if you enjoy working with technology, then a computer science or information technology degree could be a good fit.

Alternatively, pursuing a nursing or healthcare administration degree could be a smart move if you have a passion for healthcare. Regardless of your specific interests, choosing a degree program that is both relevant to your goals and flexible enough to accommodate your military obligations is essential. By considering these factors, you can set yourself up for success both within and outside of your military career.

Do all colleges accept Military Tuition Assistance?

Military Tuition Assistance is a valuable resource for service members looking to advance their education and career opportunities. However, it’s important to note that not all colleges and universities accept this form of payment. While many institutions have committed to providing resources and support for veterans and active-duty military personnel, not every school has the infrastructure or capability to process Military Tuition Assistance applications.

Therefore, it’s crucial for service members to do their research and identify which colleges and universities are eligible to receive this form of payment to avoid any financial difficulties or delays in their educational pursuits.

Does every college accept the GI Bill?

The GI Bill is a vital program that provides educational benefits to veterans and can help them transition to civilian life. However, not all colleges accept the GI Bill. Veterans should research and find a college or university that accepts the GI Bill before committing to a school. Each college has its own policies and procedures on applying for benefits, so it’s essential to contact the college’s Veterans Affairs (VA) office for more information.

Some schools even have designated VA counselors or programs, such as WGU’s Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership (VITAL) program, to assist with the process. It’s important for veterans to utilize their available resources and find a school that fully supports their educational goals.

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