Are You a Veteran? Do You Want To Go To College? Here Are The Best Online Colleges for Veterans!

Here Are Our Top 10 Online Colleges for Veterans

Are you a veteran that wants to go to college but is unsure of what online colleges are out there for you? Well you have come to the right place. Here are the top 10 online colleges for veterans based on research by Intelligent.

  1. University of North Dakota
  2. University of North Carolina Wilmington
  3. Abraham Lincoln University
  4. Colorado State University Global
  5. Trident University International
  6. Community College of Denver
  7. Texas Tech University
  8. Gordon State College
  9. NC State University
  10. Marywood University

Keep in mind each of these colleges is going to offer something unique, but you should choose the one that is best going to meet your schedule and what you want to major in. 

You may be wondering, can I complete this degree online even if I’m on active-duty? The answer is yes you can! As long as you have a viable internet connection you will be able to complete this online degree from anywhere.

Why Should You Consider An Online Degree As A Veteran?

When researching what college to attend as a veteran, you should consider looking at online colleges. Also look for military-friendly online colleges with support resources available for veterans. There are many benefits to getting an online degree as a veteran. This includes aspects such as:

  • It is highly transportable - allows veterans & military personnel to complete their degree from anywhere with a viable internet connection - this puts online colleges as the best options because of this flexibility
  • The transition to civilian life - some of the best colleges for veterans offer resources to help veterans transition to civilian life - these resources can include mental health resources, special military transition teams, or even clubs/organizations for veterans
  • Allows for more secure employment - this online degree can offer veterans with more job opportunities since they will earn valuable skills needed for jobs in a variety of fields
  • It improves professional options - can help them advance in their careers, since they may qualify for promotions or pay-increases by having a degree
  • It improves education options - with an online undergraduate degree they can move onto graduate programs - getting a graduate degree can greatly improve their professional options
Graphic of online education for veterans.
Why it makes sense to get an online degree as a veteran. Image courtesy of College Consensus

Now let’s take a closer look into the top 3 best online colleges for veterans to see what makes each one unique. This will help you determine what sets them apart and what may influence you to choose one over another.

University of North Dakota

At University of North Dakota (UND), they pride themselves as being your dedicated military team. Based on the top 10 list UND earned the award of being Intelligent’s pick for number one online college for veterans. At University of North Dakota they offer a variety of helpful resources for student veterans online and on campus. They are also honored to serve those who serve our country. 

UND Admissions Process

There is a specific admissions process for veterans including a dependent of a veteran. The first step is to meet with your Educational Services Officer (ESO) to see what benefits you are eligible for. Next, you will start the application process at UND and you can either apply as a freshman, transfer student, or graduate student. Make sure to indicate service member, veteran, or military affiliated on your application. 

There is a Veterans Online Application (VONAPP) to apply for education benefits but make sure you get your Award Letter/Statement of Benefits (COE or NOBE) mailed to you. Once you receive your education benefits, make sure to submit a copy of your award letter to the Veteran & Military Services department. 

Your next step is to meet with your UND academic advisor or department to select your classes. In order to use your education benefits you must be enrolled in classes. The military students at UND get priority course registration. If you want to use your education benefits you must complete the Veteran Certification form. Although, this form must be completed every semester you wish to use your education benefits. 

University of North Carolina Wilmington

At University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), the faculty there are available to support you in your academic journey and beyond. Based on Intelligent’s list UNCW was awarded best in the southeast. The students at UNCW represent multiple branches of military service and affiliations including: 

  • Veterans
  • Active duty service members 
  • Reservists
  • National Guard members
  • Military/veteran family members

Veteran students at UNCW include some locals that spend time in the Military Affairs Wing when on campus, while others are students stationed around the world. 

As a military student interested in online programs at University of North Carolina Wilmington, you can choose from undergraduate degrees that are completely online, online master’s degrees, graduate certificates, and licensure programs. 

Benefits for UNCW Veteran Students

At University of North Carolina Wilmington the veteran students/active military members have benefits that include:

  • Application fee waivers
  • Priority registration
  • Military student payment plan
  • Military leave of absence policy
  • Facilitation of Department of Defense Tuition Assistance (TA) benefits
  • Facilitation of Veterans Affairs educational benefits
  • And if local a parking permit discount

As a military/veteran student at UNCW you will be a part of the Military-affiliated Student Listserv, which is a weekly email newsletter that keeps you up-to-date on military community events on campus and off, as well as scholarship opportunities in which many are specifically designed for military members that are currently serving. This newsletter also gives internship and job listings as well as UNCW support services.

Image of Veterans Hall building at UNCW.
Office of Military Affairs at UNCW called Veterans Hall, in which faculty help develop and coordinate resources to help military-affiliated students to achieve their academic goals. Image courtesy of UNCW.

Abraham Lincoln University

At Abraham Lincoln University (ALU) they are a military-friendly university. The faculty and staff here offer their sincere appreciation for veterans and service members who have served in the U.S. military. They also take pride in their military-affiliated students and want to make sure prospective students are aware of the military benefits available to them at ALU. Based on the list by Intelligent, ALU was awarded the best for-profit university. 

They are a pioneer for distance learning, which means they understand the needs of today’s military service members and their families. They are also devoted to your pursuit of your educational goals as well as priding themselves on making sure the online experience you have meets your needs. 

Benefits of Attending ALU

You may be asking why should I choose Abraham Lincoln University. At ALU they offer—flexible class schedules that adhere to the demanding lifestyles of military members, they do not have a residency requirement, they offer credit for military training and experience that is appropriate to the degree, credit for nationally recognized testing programs, and affordable tuition and fee waivers. The fees that are waived for military students are application fees and registration fees per program. 

What Is The Post-9/11 GI Bill?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) helps military members pay for school or job training. You may qualify for this if you have served on active duty after September 10, 2001. To help you determine if you are eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) benefits you must meet at least one of these:

  • You have served at least 90 days on active duty (all at once or with breaks in service) on or after September 11, 2001
  • You received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service
  • You served for at least 30 continuous days (all at once with no breaks in service) on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged with a service-connected disability
  • You are a dependent child using benefits transferred by a qualifying veteran or service member

Keep in mind that you may qualify to get restored benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, if you are a member of the Reserves that lost education benefits when the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) ended in November 2015.

Benefits You Can Get Through the Post-9/11 GI Bill

There are multiple benefits you can get through the Post-9/11 GI Bill. These benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs include: 

  • Tuition and fees - they will cover your cost of public, in-state tuition and fees if you qualify for the maximum benefit - they cap the rates for private and foreign schools and update these rates each year 
  • Money for housing - they will base your monthly housing allowance on the cost of living where your school is located, if attending in person
  • Money for books and supplies - you can be eligible for up to $1,000 per school year
  • Money to help you move from a rural area to go to school - you can be eligible for this if you live in a county with 6 or less people per square mile and you are moving either at least 500 miles to attend school or have no other option than to fly by plane to get to school

Conclusion

Keep in mind that online schools offer different benefits for military students. It is all about finding the best online college that meets your needs, whether you are—active-duty, a veteran, or a dependent of a military-affiliated member.

Making the choice to attend college requires a lot of thinking and there are options out there to meet any of your needs. There are even colleges that offer credits for military service. In any case, deciding to attend college either after or during military service is a tough one, so make sure to do any necessary research into deciding to earn a degree.

Elizabeth Grobstein
Liz Grobstein is a writer based in North Huntingdon, PA.
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