Top 20 Military Friendly Colleges & Universities

Today, we’re going to share our list of the top 20 military friendly colleges and universities. Since this list is very subjective, here are a few considerations we took into account when making this list:

  • # of veterans/military enrolled as students
  • College reputation
  • Cost of tuition
  • Graduation rate
  • Ease of Admission
  • Flexibility of classes (online/offline)
  • Discounts, scholarships and/or financial aid for military/veterans

Top 20 Military Friendly Colleges

Top 20 Military Friendly Colleges and Universities

Whether you are a veteran, thinking about joining the military, or are currently serving in the military, you might want to consider attending one of these military friendly colleges. With that being said, here is our top 20 list.

#20 Florida State University

The first military friendly college to make our list is Florida State University. Founded in 1851, FSU is the oldest college in Florida. FSU is located in Tallahassee, Florida.

Florida State University (FSU) offers a Strategies for Veteran Success course for free to assist military students. The course provides important information and helps military students on their educational journey. FSU offers several military-related programs, including a Veterans Student Union in which vets can participate in student government, an Entrepreneurship Boot Camp to provide veterans with disabilities training to work in business, and a Student Veterans Center which provides resources and information for veterans.

There are several scholarships offered to veterans at Florida State University including the Emeritus Society Student Veteran Academic Excellence Scholarship, which is given to the student-veteran with the highest GPA at the end of each semester. Another scholarship is the Charles T. Haworth Graduate Scholarship for Veterans for vets who have been accepted into a master’s program at FSU College of Social Sciences and Public Policy. Florida State University has online programs available to students. They offer associate’s through doctoral degree programs. The school is large with over 41,000 students.


#19 Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College traces its roots back to 1759, making it the ninth oldest university in the USA. It is an Ivy League University in Hanover, New Hampshire.

With three on-campus groups dedicated to veteran students, Dartmouth takes the military-to-civilian transition seriously, which is further evidenced by its participation in the Posse Veterans Program, a partnership that currently includes three other colleges and can help provide full tuition for up to 500 eligible veterans annually.

Student veterans groups include the Dartmouth Undergraduate Veterans Association (DUVA), the Dartmouth Graduate Veterans Association and the Dartmouth Uniformed Service Alumni (DUSA). In this way, the college supports its military-affiliated students through each and every stage of their academic careers and beyond.

Source: DD214Direct

#18 Cornell University Ithaca

Cornell University was founded in 1859. It is located in Ithaca, New York. There are approximately 15,000 undergraduate students enrolled at the university.

Cornell University has had a long tradition of serving Veteran and Military Affiliated Students. We are committed to increasing opportunities for these students to benefit from a uniquely rewarding academic experience and also contribute to the diversity of the Cornell community. Cornell is a founding partner in VetLink and annually hosts the Warrior-Scholar Project to increase access and opportunity. Furthermore, with the creation of Students Veterans Advocate position and the community fostered by the Cornell Undergraduate Veterans Association offer specialized services, resources, and work to eliminate barriers to ensure that veteran and students succeed and thrive at Cornell and beyond.

Source: Military Friendly

# 17 Carnegie-Mellon University

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carnegie-Mellon University is military friendly. The university was founded in 1900 by Andrew Carnegie.

Since 2010, Carnegie Mellon University has been named a Military Friendly School by The University Registrar’s Office provides services to veterans and their dependents who are eligible for Veterans Education Benefits under the Montgomery G.I. Bill, Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program. In addition, Carnegie Mellon participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program for those who are 100% eligible for benefits under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

Source: Carnegie Mellon University

# 16 University of Southern California

Who wouldn’t want to go to college in beautiful California? Beautiful beaches, great weather and military friendly!

The University of Southern California, a private research university in Los Angeles, enrolls over 45,000 students in a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. Founded in 1880, USC boasts the distinctions of being the oldest private research university in the state, and one of the best online colleges for military families.

Source: TheBestSchools

Compensation for a military officer with a bachelors degree in 2010 is 88 percent

# 15 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

Great sports. Great academics. And military friendly!

The military-friendly campus of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor provides opportunities for both veterans and active duty students to receive the education they’re looking for. The school has a number of resources and offices for military students, helping them to navigate through the paperwork and applications to fully take advantage of their benefits. A U-M Student Veterans Assistance office is dedicated to the needs of veteran student and an on-campus chapter of the Student Veterans of America provides a link to networking and support. The university offers global, online and on-campus programs to meet the needs of any prospective student.

Source: Learn How To Become

#14 Stockton University

This is a great little college that many people have never heard of before.

“Since its opening in 1971, when Stockton served Vietnam-era veterans, the university has remained committed to meeting the needs of both our active military and veterans, many of whom helped develop our programs”, Stockton President Harvey Kesselman said. “It is an honor to be recognized for serving those who have so honorably served our country.”

Stockton hosts a Students Veterans Organization and has a dedicated Veterans Lounge. The Wellness Center provides specialized counseling to help veterans integrate into college and civilian life, and has offered specialized courses that allow veterans to better understand their experiences in the larger context of history.

Source: Stockton University

# 13 Eastern Kentucky University

Located in Richmond, Kentucky, this military friendly college is worth considering.

EKU offers a number of benefits to those who are currently serving or have served. Currently serving service members, veterans and dependents who plan to use military benefits can apply for undergraduate degree programs at no cost. Students can receive credit for their military experience and reduce their expenses by using the Books for Boots Exchange Library and book vouchers. EKU’s withdrawal and readmissions policies were designed with service members in mind.

 Source: WKYT

# 12 Colorado State University – Fort Collins

If you’re looking for a college in the mid-west, be sure you check out Colorado State University.

Colorado State University – Fort Collins has several programs that help military service members and veterans transition to life as a college student including the New Start program which provides mentoring, support with memorizing and concentration, and assists in finding available community resources. The university also offers an Adult Learner and Veteran Services program that assists with various aspects of college life including leadership skills. This university offers degree options ranging from bachelors to doctorate degrees, many of which can be completed entirely online. Approximately 75% of students who graduate from CSU-Fort Collins are employed in a related field to that in which they earned their degree.


# 11 California State University – San Bernardino

This highly rated university is military friendly and is located in beautiful California.

California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) is a preeminent center of intellectual and cultural activity in Inland Southern California. CSUSB is listed among the best colleges and universities in the western United States, according to the Princeton Review, Forbes and U.S. News and World Report. At CSUSB military affiliated students can combine the call to duty with the call of opportunity. University has added programs and benefits which streamline the admissions process, reduce out-of-pocket costs, and increase the ability for military affiliated students who reside in California to commence new career paths, develop new skills, or resume their education.

Source: Military Friendly

Knowledge is power.

# 10 University of South Florida

Founded in 1956 and located in Tampa, Florida, veterans and active duty military should consider this military friendly university.

USF offers a bachelor’s in public health as well as an online master’s degree plus many other related majors. The school also has a nursing program that is highly ranked for veterans. Those who graduate from the University of South Florida with an undergraduate degree in public health report average early career earnings of $37,000 and mid-career earnings of $74,000. USF has a large veteran population and has committed to four federal programs that set standards in education for veterans and active-duty military students.

 Source: AirForceTimes

# 9 Rutgers University – Camden Campus

This is the State University of New Jersey and was founded in 1766. Approximately 67,000 students attend this university.

This university has a unique and proud heritage of supporting veterans since the Revolutionary War. The Department of Veterans Affairs even designated Rutgers a “VetSuccess On Campus University” and assigned a full-time VA employee to work out of the Rutgers Veterans House. Rutgers also has a veterans orientation program that allows vets to meet and network with other veterans who are familiar with the university and its programs. In addition, it offers a mentoring program, pairing a Rutgers veteran with a new incoming student, allowing new students to get a handle on community and campus life.

Source: Task & Purpose

# 8 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

I actually considered attending Embry while I was looking at graduate schools. They are a military friendly university and have great academic programs.

As you might guess from the name, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is all about flying. Located in Daytona Beach, Fla., the school’s focus revolves around aerospace technology. Programs range from air traffic control to UAV systems to aviation law. In addition to being a qualified Yellow Ribbon school, with half of all unmet tuition requirements handled by the school and the other half by the VA, Embry-Riddle was ranked by U.S. News and World report as the ninth best school in the southern region overall, and eighth best regional school for veterans. If living in the sunshine and learning about aircraft is your idea of an ideal college experience, consider giving Embry-Riddle a look.

Source: G.I.Jobs

# 7 Texas A&M

If you’re considering ROTC, or are a veteran, you should look into Texas A&M. They have a LARGE ROTC program, affordable tuition rates and a great reputation.

Texas A&M was originally founded in 1876 as a military academy, and they have served student veterans since 1919. Through the Military Admissions Office, the Veteran Services Office and the Veteran Resource & Support Center, veteran students have unlimited access to helpful resources.

On the Veteran Services website, students can find information for federal veterans benefits, Texas veterans benefits, financial aid, scholarships and more. On the Veteran Resource & Support Center’s website, students will find a calendar of numerous “Aggie Vet Events” on and off campus.

Source: Great Value Colleges

The Department of Defense offers college tuition assistance to soldiers up to a maximum

# 6 Troy University

I had to add Troy University to this list of military friendly colleges and universities because this where I earned my Master’s Degree in Management (Chuck). I attended classes for about 18-months at Fort Carson, Colorado, while I was assigned there. It was affordable, flexible and military friendly.

Troy University began in 1887 with an act of the Alabama legislature to create what was then known as Troy State Normal School, a school designed to prepare teachers. Until 1929, the school focused on teacher training. It was that year that the charter of the school was changed, and it became Troy State Teacher’s College and the campus moved to its present site. Enrollment at the school grew significantly after World War II and soldiers returned from battle to take advantage of the GI Bill. With the growing enrollment, Troy State added additional programs beyond teacher education and, in 1957, the school became known as Troy State College.

 In the 1950s, Troy began offering programs on nearby military bases, starting with Fort Rucker and later at Maxwell Air Force Base. Eventually, the Fort Rucker programs evolved into the Dothan campus while the Maxwell program became the Montgomery campus. In 1967, the school became Troy State University. The word “state” was dropped in 2004.

 Source: Applied Behavior Analysis

# 5 University of Maryland University College (UMUC)

What list would be complete without UMUC? They cater to the military and have affordable tuition rates, great teachers and flexible classes.

The University of Maryland University College was begun in 1947 to serve the educational needs of the US military serving in Europe after WWII. The school formulates their military specific tuition rate of $250 per undergraduate credit hour so that Tuition Assistance covers 100% of the cost. There are a variety of benefits for service members, veterans, and family members. The University of Maryland University College employs special enrollment advisors specifically to advise the particular needs of military students.

Source: Online Course Report

# 4 Southern New Hampshire University

You’ve probably seen the Southern New Hampshire University ads on television and online. They are very military friendly and are worth considering.

Dedicated advisors with military experience are there to help military students. With up to 30% tuition discounts and compliance with ADA to make accommodations for disabled veterans, SNHU is an innovative and invested school for military students. Spouses are also eligible for discounts and assistance. A free credit evaluation is done by admissions, and the university partners with many military-affiliated organizations. All types of Tuition Assistance are available for veterans, active duty, reserve, or family members. A Yellow Ribbon school.


In 2010, 82.8% of U.S. military officers had at least a bachelor’s degree

# 3 American Military University

If you’re a veteran and you’re looking for an internet friendly university, this could easily top the list. The American Military University is 100% online. They really focus on veterans, firemen, and police officers.

American Military University, established in 1991, is a member of the American Public University System (APUS) along with its sister university, the American Public University. A 100% online university, its headquarters are located in Charles Town, West Virginia. The original focus of the university, as the name implies, was to meet the unique educational needs of the military to help them prepare for post-military careers. However, they have also expanded their mission to reach out to and meet the educational needs of the greater public service community, primarily police, fire, emergency management personnel and national security professionals. With such a thrust it is not surprising that together with its sister university, AMU is the United States’ largest providers of higher education to the armed forces, with more than 50,000 working adults comprising its student body.

Source: Military Degree Programs

# 2 University of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix is military and veteran friendly. I have many friends who have attended their classes and earned degrees with the University of Phoenix and they all enjoyed the experience.

University of Phoenix Military Division works directly with active military members, their spouses, and veterans to help them balance frequent deployments, relocations, and training schedules while obtaining their degrees. University of Phoenix Military Division students can access classes online or at more than 200 University of Phoenix locations, giving military students an opportunity to choose the learning environment that is most conducive to their educational success. Active duty military members and spouses stationed or deployed overseas can earn either a Master of Business Administration or Master of Arts in Education degree at campus locations throughout Europe and Asia.

Source: CNBC

# 1 United States Military Academy

I had to put West Point as # 1 on my list of the top military friendly colleges. If you’re thinking about serving as an Army Officer, and you have the credentials to get accepted here, there is no better college you could attend.

The United States Military Academy at West Point (also known USMA, West Point, or Army) is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. Established in 1802, USMA is the oldest of the United States’ five service academies. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, 50 miles north of New York City. The military garrison at West Point was occupied in 1778 and played a key role in the Revolutionary War. The entire central campus is a national landmark and home to numerous historic sites, buildings, and monuments. The campus is a popular tourist destination complete with a large visitor center and the oldest museum in the United States Army.

Tuition for cadets is fully funded by the Army in exchange for an active duty service obligation upon graduation. Approximately 1,000 cadets graduate each spring and are commissioned as second lieutenants. The academic program grants a bachelor of science degree with a curriculum that grades cadets’ performance upon a broad academic program, military leadership performance, and mandatory participation in competitive athletics. Cadets are required to adhere to the Cadet Honor Code, which states that “a cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.” The Academy has influenced many other institutions and curricula, setting high standards in all that it does. Without this institutions, American history would undoubtedly have been very different.

Source: New World Encyclopedia

Education is the most powerful weapon

Final Thoughts

There you have it folks. Thanks for checking out our list of the top 20 military friendly colleges and universities. What are your thoughts? What college or university did we leave off of our list that we should have included?

Do you agree or disagree with our rankings? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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