2016 Top Military Friendly Online Colleges

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We evaluated over 500 colleges to provide this list of the 80 most military friendly online schools. Every school is fully accredited and provides a strong military culture, exceptional online support to its military students, as well as earns high marks in financial aid and flexibility. We also provide a list of the top Yellow Ribbon online schools with in-depth descriptions of available benefits.

For example, Saint Leo University Online offers a course to help veterans transition to a university setting and provides an emergency fund to assist veterans in times of need. With a flexible deployment policy, Colorado Technical University - Online is an exceptional choice for students expecting to return to duty. Colorado Tech also partners with the Student Veterans Organization, and is an affordable option, with annual tuition of $10,531.

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School Annual Tuition Military Culture Online Support
Abraham Lincoln University Annual Tuition  $7,500 Military Culture 77 pts Online Support 39 pts
American InterContinental University Annual Tuition  $13,675 - $16,138 Military Culture 77 pts Online Support 55 pts
American Sentinel University Annual Tuition  $9,725 Military Culture 77 pts Online Support 55 pts
Argosy University Online Annual Tuition  $18,885 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 88 pts
Arizona State University Annual Tuition  $11,209 - $23,654 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 55 pts
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division Annual Tuition  $17,020 Military Culture 77 pts Online Support 77 pts
Ashford University Annual Tuition  $10,632 - $13,400 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 88 pts
Bellevue University Annual Tuition  $6,300 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 88 pts
Bowling Green State University-Main Campus Annual Tuition  $18,034 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 88 pts
Brandman University (Online Campus) Annual Tuition  Not Provided Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 83 pts
California State University-San Bernardino Annual Tuition  $17,710 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 77 pts
Clarion University Annual Tuition  $13,237 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 66 pts
Colorado State University-Global Annual Tuition  $9,000 Military Culture 66 pts Online Support 100 pts
Colorado Technical University - Online Annual Tuition  $10,531 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 77 pts
Columbia College Annual Tuition  $7,115 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 100 pts
Columbia Southern University Annual Tuition  $4,895 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 66 pts
Eastern Kentucky University Annual Tuition  $16,608 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 88 pts
ECPI University Online Annual Tuition  $14,245 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 100 pts
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Annual Tuition  $7,800 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 55 pts
Excelsior College Annual Tuition  $17,000 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 77 pts
Fayetteville State University Annual Tuition  $15,401 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 61 pts
Fayetteville Technical Community College Annual Tuition  $8,522 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 100 pts
Grand Canyon University Annual Tuition  $17,000 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 39 pts
Grantham University Annual Tuition  $6,530 Military Culture 77 pts Online Support 66 pts
Hawaii Pacific University Annual Tuition  $20,180 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 77 pts
Jacksonville University Annual Tuition  $29,900 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 55 pts
Kaplan University Annual Tuition  $10,105 - $15,957 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 88 pts
Keiser University eCampus Annual Tuition  $16,284 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 55 pts
Liberty University Online Annual Tuition  $20,768 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 77 pts
National American University Online Annual Tuition  $6,447 - $12,891 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 39 pts
National American University Online - Grad Annual Tuition  $12,690 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 39 pts
New England College Annual Tuition  $33,000 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 55 pts
New England College of Business and Finance Annual Tuition  $9,235 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 88 pts
Northern Arizona University Annual Tuition  $22,093 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 88 pts
Northern Kentucky University Annual Tuition  $16,464 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 55 pts
Northern Michigan University Annual Tuition  $14,113 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 88 pts
Norwich University Annual Tuition  $33,371 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 44 pts
Ohio Christian University Annual Tuition  $17,720 Military Culture 77 pts Online Support 54 pts
Old Dominion University Annual Tuition  $24,210 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 100 pts
Park University Annual Tuition  $10,600 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 100 pts
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus Annual Tuition  $13,202 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 100 pts
Post University Online Annual Tuition  Not Provided Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 50 pts
Regent University Online Annual Tuition  $15,838 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 61 pts
Rio Salado College Annual Tuition  $7,758 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 77 pts
Saint Leo University Online Annual Tuition  $19,920 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 100 pts
Southeast Missouri State University Annual Tuition  $12,195 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 88 pts
Southern New Hampshire University Online Annual Tuition  $11,520 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 88 pts
Southern New Hampshire University Online Grad Annual Tuition  $18,810 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 88 pts
Southwestern College - KS Annual Tuition  $23,886 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 77 pts
St Petersburg College Annual Tuition  $11,477 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 94 pts
Stratford University Annual Tuition  $15,135 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 88 pts
Thomas Edison State University Annual Tuition  $8,395 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 88 pts
Trident University International Annual Tuition  $6,600 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 77 pts
Troy University Annual Tuition  $13,520 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 66 pts
University of Central Missouri Annual Tuition  $13,659 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 77 pts
University of Colorado Boulder Annual Tuition  $32,115 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 100 pts
University of Connecticut Annual Tuition  $30,970 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 88 pts
University of Kansas Annual Tuition  $24,873 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 66 pts
University of Maine at Augusta Annual Tuition  $16,740 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 55 pts
University of Mary Annual Tuition  $14,730 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 72 pts
University of Maryland University College Annual Tuition  $12,336 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 100 pts
University of Massachusetts-Lowell Annual Tuition  $26,146 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 88 pts
University of Missouri Annual Tuition  $23,764 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 83 pts
University of Nebraska at Omaha Annual Tuition  $16,890 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 77 pts
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Annual Tuition  $21,388 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 100 pts
University of Nevada at Las Vegas Annual Tuition  $20,600 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 100 pts
University of North Carolina at Wilmington Annual Tuition  $18,480 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 66 pts
University of South Florida - Main Campus Annual Tuition  $17,324 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 77 pts
University of Southern Mississippi Annual Tuition  $15,024 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 88 pts
The University of Texas at El Paso Annual Tuition  $19,175 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 44 pts
University of Wisconsin-Superior Annual Tuition  $15,519 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 88 pts
University of Wyoming Annual Tuition  $14,124 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 88 pts
Upper Iowa University Annual Tuition  $24,400 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 55 pts
Utah State University Annual Tuition  $17,550 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 77 pts
Virginia College Annual Tuition  $4,463 - $18,300 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 83 pts
Waldorf University Annual Tuition  $20,316 Military Culture 77 pts Online Support 55 pts
Webster University Annual Tuition  $23,760 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 61 pts
Western Carolina University Annual Tuition  $15,862 Military Culture 100 pts Online Support 88 pts
Western Governors University Annual Tuition  $6,070 Military Culture 88 pts Online Support 77 pts
Western International University Annual Tuition  $6,000 Military Culture 77 pts Online Support 55 pts

This indicates that a school participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, making education funds available to veterans beyond what is provided through his or her GI Bill entitlement.

This indicates that a school has a tuition discount available to military personnel or veterans. Possible forms of this discount include:

  • Lower cost-per-credit rate
  • Percentage off overall tuition
  • In-state tuition available to out-of-state students

2016 Top 15 Yellow Ribbon Online Schools

2016 top military friendly badge

To support our members of the armed services, we’ve put together a list of 15 online colleges and universities that offer the highest level of assistance through the Yellow Ribbon program and provide exceptional military and academic support programs, financial aid services, and credit transfer choices. We have based this list on research conducted by Military Advanced Education & Transition, which has evaluated colleges based on their performance in several categories important to military-affiliated students.

In addition to offering unlimited contributions through the Yellow Ribbon program, the following colleges and universities received the highest marks in providing strong military culture and online support to their military students, making them the most military friendly online colleges in 2016. These schools also received high marks in financial aid and flexibility. You can read our full methodology here.

#1 Columbia College

Columbia College’s Ousley Family Veterans Service Center provides access to special services for members and veterans of the military, including those who are earning their degree online. The virtual center aims to provide online military students with comparable services as those provided to on-campus students. These services include both live and on-demand webinars, training sessions, and assistance from staff members through a live chat function. The virtual center also provides recordings from special events, lectures, and seminars. Columbia College also provides a Military Transition Team (MTT), which is comprised of staff members from various departments including admissions, enrollment, financial aid, and counseling and mental health services. Members of the MTT must undergo special training to better understand the needs of military-affiliated students and the importance of providing a seamless transition from the military to an academic setting.

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#2 University of Maryland University College

Online programs at the University of Maryland University College make it easy for active-duty military to study from anywhere in the world. UMUC also provides a variety of services for students and their families who are adjusting to civilian life. Through the Veterans Resource Center, students can connect with specialized veterans advisors if they need academic advice or to learn more about financial aid and student services. The Veterans Webinar Series is also available to students, offering valuable information for academic success. Webinar topics include recommendations for obtaining a government job, available academic resources, and student services for veterans. The college also provides online mentoring services through the VPALS Mentorship program. The program gives students individualized support from their peers, often progressing into long-term friendships. For additional support, students can turn to the VeteransSuccess Club, a student-run group that connects students with other veterans and active-duty servicemembers. Online tutoring services are also available for student veterans.

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#3 Saint Leo University Online

Saint Leo University has been helping members of the military earn degrees since the Vietnam War in the 1970s. The university partners with military programs like eArmyU and the Navy College Program Distance Learning Partnership (NCPDLP). Active-duty servicemembers and veterans can earn a variety of degrees through distance education, including an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and a doctoral degree as well as select graduate certificates. The Office of Veteran Student Services has a Veteran Student Emergency Fund to provide financial assistance to members of the military to go towards family expenses, rent, medications, food, and childcare. They also host the Veteran Transition Course to help students adapt to post-military life while pursuing an online degree. The same office hosts an essay contest each year, open only to active-duty servicemembers and veterans. Applicants must describe a personal military experience that is reminiscent of the college’s values of excellence, community, respect, personal development, and integrity.

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#4 Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs partners with a student-run organization called Veterans Education and Transition Support (EKU VETS) to provide veterans and members of the military with the support necessary to transition smoothly to a university setting. EKU VETS connects military students with other veterans through their peer-to-peer mentoring program. They also run the Books-for-Boots exchange program that assists military students with obtaining textbooks. Additionally, Eastern Kentucky launched a program called Operation Veteran Success that provides former members of the military with benefits such as free or reduced tuition, credit for military experience, priority registration, and a veteran-specific orientation. EKU also publishes The Journal of Military Experience which provides a platform for EKU students to share their experiences in the military and has expanded to include stories from across the nation. The university honors military students and staff with a veteran’s memorial, an annual roll call ceremony, and a military essay contest entitled “Talk of Heroes”.

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#5 Stratford University

Stratford University has many programs and resources for veterans and active military members. Students may be eligible for tuition assistance directly through the school or from a reimbursement through Veterans Affairs. The university’s Military Student Office aims to help students navigate both academic and non-academic issues. In addition to helping students determine which benefits are best for them, they also assist with the benefit request process, help students connect with an admissions advisor to determine a program of study, and help students fill out enrollment forms. Stratford also allows students who have applied for benefits to start coursework before their certificate of eligibility arrives, which can take up to six weeks. Military students and veterans can also complete Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs) to earn credit for the training they completed while serving. These exams translate specific experiences into learning outcomes so that the school can determine which course levels are appropriate for each student.

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#6 Argosy University Online

In addition to educational advancement, Argosy University Online offers members of the military flexibility with programs that can be completed entirely online from anywhere in the world. The Department of Student Services encourages military students to take advantage of their online graduation teams so that students can have access to a dedicated representative for questions on academics, finances, and career options. The graduation teams are made up of an admissions representative, a student finance counselor, and an academic counselor. Some graduate students may also be assigned a Mentor Professor. For students who suffer from anxiety or depression, Argosy offers the Talk One-2-One program, which provides over-the-phone counseling sessions. There is also a 24-hour crisis hotline available to students. Argosy offers online one-on-one tutoring services in subjects ranging from chemistry and physics to accounting and economics. The university also reviews military students’ Joint Service Transcript to determine whether any military experience can be converted into college credit.

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#7 Colorado Technical University - Online

With various awards under their belt, Colorado Technical University has focused heavily on helping those in the military advance their education. Accredited by both the Higher Learning Commission and the Council for Business Schools and Programs, the online programs at Colorado Tech allow military students to customize their courses without having to attend physical classes. Though they do not have a specialized department or office for military services, the admissions, financial aid, and career services departments all have staff members who are experienced military specialists. Their knowledge is especially beneficial to active-duty military students who must deploy before completing their degree. Due to Colorado Tech’s flexible deployment policy, students can either continue to take online courses during their deployment or work with an advisor to come up with an alternative solution. The university also partners with the Student Veterans Organization, based in Colorado Springs, which strives to empower veterans and support them as they pursue their degree.

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#8 Brandman University (Online Campus)

First created as an extension of California’s prestigious Chapman University, Brandman University has since developed into its own school. The university initially opened at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station to make it easier for active military students to earn a degree, and is still a center for those seeking a flexible program. Shorter terms allow for more courses per year, giving students plenty of options to pursue their degree before finishing their military service. Brandman’s team of military service specialists and personal coaches are available to help students in their transition to a college setting from active military duty. The university’s Office of Accessible Education and Counseling Services provides counseling to students in need of support services, as well as those who have learning disabilities. The online Career Services department provides students with access to webinars, training videos, self-assessment guides, interviewing guides, and an online job search portal. Students can also access new student orientation online plus information sessions on the university and specific programs.

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#9 University of Nebraska at Omaha

At the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the Office of Military and Veteran Services is constantly looking for new ways to help active military members and veterans to make the transition from the field to an academic setting. The office staff, many of which are trained in military procedures and paperwork, provides students with information on veterans’ benefits and tuition assistance. The office also staffs a full-time VA employee who acts as the point-person for all matters related to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Students can also get advice from the Vet Success on Campus (VSOC) program via email. The university provides tutoring services in many fields including writing, math, science, speech, and testing. Veterans’ Affairs can provide financial assistance for tutoring to military students who can’t afford it, and additional math tutoring is offered through the Office of Military and Veteran Services for free. UNO also waives the application fee for all military-affiliated students.

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#10 American Public University System

American Public University System offers online-exclusive degrees for active-duty and former servicemembers through its member university, American Military University. With one of the largest military student enrollments, AMU is staffed by over 300 veterans and was founded by a former marine. Online classes take place in either eight-week or 16-week installments, and are specifically tailored to students’ education needs and time constraints. AMU provides free textbooks, including electronic versions, for students enrolled in undergraduate courses. AMU also provides a tuition grant so that the cost-per-credit for undergraduate studies does not exceed the military tuition assistance cap. Current servicemembers may also receive an evaluation to determine whether any military experience can be accepted as credit towards a degree. While offering over 190 degree and certificate programs, AMU has several programs that were designed with military students in mind. Programs include homeland security, intelligence, cyber security, and emergency and disaster management.

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#11 Northern Arizona University

With nearly 100 online degree options, Northern Arizona University offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees to veterans and active-duty servicemembers. Not only does NAU participate in the Yellow Ribbon program, but this university also accepts tuition deferment plans for veterans. NAU also provides assistance if students are recalled to active duty. To assist students with completing their online degrees, NAU allows military-affiliated students to receive first choice enrollment for online classes. The university’s Veteran Success Center provides a number of services and resources to student veterans including assistance with applying and enrolling in the university, information about tuition benefits and eligibility, academic resources, and a community environment where students can connect with fellow veterans. Student veterans attending NAU are also automatically admitted as members to the university’s Student Veterans of America chapter. The group was awarded two national honors in 2014 for their exceptional advocacy for student veterans.

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#12 Liberty University Online

Students at Liberty University Online have plenty of resources available to assist them in the transition from military life to college life. Their online programs are enhanced by military partnerships such as the American Council on Education (ACE) and VetSuccess, which assist with services like earning transfer credit for military experience. On-site staff members are available to help online students via email or telephone six days a week. An Army Reservist serves as the Military Student Liaison to assist with issues related to their service and benefits. Liberty also has an instant chat feature on the school’s website. The Liberty University website also has a guide that advises students who are facing deployment as to what path they should take with their education. The web-based Institute for Military Resilience (IMR) also provides support and resources for military students, including webinars and training. It also aims to educate students on the hidden wounds students carry once they’ve gone to war.

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#13 Regent University Online

Regent University’s online degree program prides itself on versatility, an attractive feature for active-duty military members. With online classes starting every eight weeks year-round and a multitude of undergraduate degree options available, students are able to set their schedule at their own pace. Through the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), military training and prior experience can translate to academic credit that can be applied towards completing a degree. These exams are funded by the United States government through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) program, which helps to reduce many of the costs for servicemen and women. Regent University provides discounts to current and former servicemembers for both undergraduate and graduate tuition rates. Tuition discounts are also available for spouses and children of servicemembers. Regent also partners with GoArmyEd which provides tuition assistance to active-duty, National Guard, and Army Reserve Soldiers.

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#14 Utah State University

Utah State University offers online degrees in a convenient format for military students, called the Flexible Learning Experience (FLEx). Using the traditional semester schedule, current and former military students can participate in online classes at the standard pace. However, students can choose to expedite their studies with FLEx Condensed Online Courses that last either four or seven weeks and have specific start dates. USU also offers FLEx Open Entry Online Courses which allow students to start the course at any time during the semester. The university provides ample support for military students with two dedicated offices for military and veterans affairs as well as staff members with specialized training in military needs. The Veterans Resource Office helps students transition from the military to an academic setting, advises veterans about available financial benefits, and connects military students with their peers and other faculty members through a mentorship program. Students can also receive free online tutoring and academic credit for military experience and training.

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#15 Trident University International

Trident University International (TUI) offers online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees to active-duty servicemembers and student veterans. Through the online Trident Military Assistance Center (TMAC), servicemen and women can receive guidance in determining their financial assistance eligibility. The TMAC also provides extensive academic and career-building resources such as resume-writing and interview tips, information on internships, a mentorship program, a tutoring service, and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) testing information. Veterans and current servicemembers, as well as their dependents, are eligible for tuition discounts at TUI. Students can also receive academic credit from their military experience and training. With over 22,000 military and veteran graduates, TUI students can take advantage of a vast veteran alumni network. TUI also has their own Student Veterans of America chapter which is the first SVA chapter associated with a fully online university.

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