Top 22 Best Military Friendly Colleges In USA | 2023

Enlisting in the military is a bold and courageous choice that demands unwavering commitment and sacrifice. However, when the time comes to transition from service to civilian life, the journey can seem daunting. Thankfully, there are educational institutions across the United States that recognize the unique needs and experiences of veterans and actively strive to create a supportive and inclusive environment for them.

This article will unveil the 25 best military-friendly colleges in the USA, where veterans can find solace, embrace new opportunities, and confidently continue their educational pursuits. These institutions stand as beacons of hope, offering tailored programs, extensive support networks, and deep respect for the invaluable contributions made by our brave men and women in uniform.

So, if you are a veteran seeking to embark on a new educational adventure, look no further. Let’s dive into the top 25 military-friendly colleges dedicated to honoring your service and empowering your future.

What Is a Military-Friendly College?

A military-friendly college is an educational institution that actively supports and accommodates the needs of military service members, veterans, and their families. These colleges create an environment conducive to military personnel’s unique challenges, such as deployments, frequent relocations, and transitioning to civilian life. They strive to provide resources, services, and programs that assist military-affiliated students in achieving their academic and career goals.

For instance, a student may have already served an operational tour when pursuing a degree. Or they may be studying to secure a specific military promotion or start a career as a civilian — perhaps while also working to support a family.

Among the benefits students enjoy by attending a military-friendly is financial support through participation in government funding programs and the opportunity to connect with others in the military community through partnerships with nationally recognized programs. These schools offer students programming that supports the transition from the military to academic culture, reviews military training for academic credit, and provides 1:1 assistance with the application and financial aid processes.

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What Are The Benefits Of Military-Friendly Colleges?

A military-friendly university recognizes the unique challenges that face military individuals and their families and works to meet their needs. Here are some key benefits and support services typically offered by military-friendly colleges:

1. Academic Programs

These colleges often offer a wide range of academic programs and degrees that align with the needs and interests of military students, such as flexible scheduling options, online courses, and credit transfer policies for military training and experience.

2. Supportive Campus Culture

Military-friendly colleges foster a welcoming and inclusive environment for military students, veterans, and their families. They may have designated staff members who specialize in assisting military-affiliated students and provide mentorship programs or support groups.

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3. Financial Assistance

These colleges recognize military students’ financial challenges and provide various financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, tuition discounts, and military-specific financial assistance programs.

4. Veterans Affairs (VA) Support

They often have dedicated Veterans Affairs (VA) offices or coordinators who assist students in navigating VA benefits, such as the GI Bill®, tuition assistance, and other educational benefits for veterans and their dependents.

5. Military Transition Support

Military-friendly colleges offer resources and support services to assist students in transitioning from military service to civilian life. This may include career counseling, job placement assistance, resume writing workshops, and networking opportunities.

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6. Flexibility and Accommodations

Military-friendly colleges understand the unique demands placed on military personnel and often provide flexibility in class scheduling, allowing for deployments or relocations. They may also have policies to accommodate absences due to military obligations.

7. Campus Facilities and Resources

Military-friendly colleges often have dedicated spaces or resource centers for military students to study, connect with fellow military-affiliated peers, or access specialized resources, such as computers, printing facilities, and academic support services.

8. Religious Support

Members of the armed forces are entitled to the option of Christ-centered education, mental health services, and free religious expression. Many public and private secular colleges offer counseling services and resources for military-affiliated students.

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How to Choose A Military-Friendly College

Choosing a military-friendly college requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure that the institution can effectively meet your needs as a military-affiliated student. Here are some steps to help you in the decision-making process:

1. Cost

The average tuition at public four-year universities was $9,375 in 2020–2021. Private institutions often charge the most, while in-state public colleges have the cheapest tuition.

Candidates for degrees must consider costs for technology, books, supplies, and other expenses besides tuition and fees. Students who study online may spend less on transportation and commute expenditures. Compare online institutions and look into the overall program cost.

2. Accreditation

Military students should always choose an accredited college. Accredited institutions meet high standards for educating students. They also demonstrate strong student learning outcomes and faculty qualifications. Only students attending accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid programs.

In addition to institutional accreditation, some programs hold specialized accreditation, particularly in business, education, social work, and healthcare. The same accrediting agencies evaluate online programs and on-campus programs.

3. Veteran and Military Programs and Services

Military-friendly institutions provide services and activities for veterans, active duty personnel, and other students with military ties. Many students who study online have virtual access to these resources.

Look for details on veterans and military services when researching online colleges. Advisors from the armed forces and veterans may be among them; they can assist students with class registration and resource discovery. Military service members and veterans can benefit from counseling services and student life activities at many campuses.

Finally, students may also benefit from peer advisors or peer mentorship programs.

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4. Major and Degree Offerings

Some students choose their major decisions before submitting their applications. These students ought to look at universities with reputable programs in the fields they wish to pursue.

Others enroll in college without a clear direction for their major. Applying to online universities with a variety of majors can help these kids.

Research each institution’s degree options, graduation standards, and concentrations before applying to an online college.

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5. Transfer Credits

Many military service members and veterans enter college with transfer credits. That’s because many schools offer credit for military training and experience.

When comparing schools, make sure to check their policies on military service credit and transfer credit. The application process may differ for transfer students because they are not typically required to submit standardized test scores. An admission counselor can walk you through the transfer credit and application process.

6. Campus Culture and Support

Consider the overall campus culture and the level of support provided to military-affiliated students. Look for colleges with a welcoming and inclusive environment, with support systems to assist with transitioning from military to civilian life. Consider visiting the campus or contacting current military students to understand the college’s atmosphere.

Top 25 Best Military-Friendly Colleges In USA

Here’s a list of the top 25 military-friendly colleges in the USA

1. University of Florida

The University of Florida boasts a comprehensive range of programs, including a dedicated Veterans Success Center, ROTC programs, and veteran-specific scholarships. Its commitment to supporting military students makes it a top choice.

The large campus is divided into sections, including the Historic District, which features 19 buildings of historical significance, and Century Tower, a 157-foot tall carillon (bell) tower. 

The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, and awards Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and Doctorates in 100 majors and 14 Online Bachelor’s Degrees, and 4 “completion” Bachelor’s Degrees.

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2. Syracuse University

Syracuse University’s commitment to veterans is evident through the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. The university provides numerous resources, including career counseling, entrepreneurship programs, and unique academic initiatives.

With a rich history of supporting veterans and active-duty servicemembers, Syracuse University has created a welcoming and inclusive environment that fosters academic excellence, career development, and community engagement.

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3. Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University has a long-standing tradition of military excellence. A vibrant Corps of Cadets, military-friendly policies, and a supportive network offer an ideal environment for veterans and service members.

Texas A&M University has a rich military heritage and offers a variety of military programs and opportunities for its students. While it is not specifically a military college, Texas A&M has a strong military presence and is home to one of the largest Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs in the United States.

The Corps of Cadets is a significant component of Texas A&M’s military tradition. It is a student military organization that is open to all students at the university. The Corps provides leadership development, military training, and a structured lifestyle for its members. Students in the Corps of Cadets can choose to pursue a commission in the U.S. military through the ROTC programs offered at Texas A&M.

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4. The University of Maryland Global Campus

The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) is recognized as a military-friendly college and is strongly committed to supporting military-affiliated students. UMGC has a long history of serving the educational needs of the military community, including active-duty service members, veterans, and their families.

UMGC offers a range of programs and resources tailored to military students’ unique needs and circumstances. These include flexible online and hybrid learning options, transfer credit for military training and experience, dedicated academic advising for military-affiliated students, and specialized support services.

UMGC is a participant in the U.S. Department of Defense’s Voluntary Education Programs and has multiple education centers located on military installations around the world. These centers provide on-site support and resources for military students, making it more convenient for them to pursue their education while serving.

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5. Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University (commonly known as Penn State) is considered a military-friendly college and has a strong commitment to supporting military-affiliated students. Penn State has a long history of serving the educational needs of the military community, including active-duty service members, veterans, and their families.

Penn State offers a range of programs and resources specifically tailored to meet military students’ unique needs and circumstances.

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6. University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin provides extensive support for military students through its Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) program. It offers comprehensive resources, such as academic advising, counseling, and mentoring.

They offer specific programs and initiatives for military-affiliated students. For example, the Veteran Entrepreneur Program supports student veterans interested in entrepreneurship, and the Student Veteran Association provides a community and support network for military-affiliated students on campus.

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7. Georgetown University

Georgetown Institution is a private, Catholic, and Jesuit research institution that is situated in Washington, District of Columbia. John Carroll, who eventually became the first Catholic bishop appointed in America, founded Georgetown, the nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university, in 1789. Georgetown University, a leader in higher education, offers a top-notch educational experience in keeping with the Jesuit tradition of educating the full person via exposure to various religions, cultures, and beliefs.

In addition to a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields like the liberal arts, sciences, international relations, law, medicine, business administration, and public policy, Georgetown also provides an increasing number of continuing education courses and specialized certificates.

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8. University of Washington

Next on our list of best military-friendly colleges is the University of Washington.

The University of Washington’s Veterans Education Benefits Office ensures veterans and military students receive the maximum benefits. Additionally, it offers a Veterans Center and various programs to facilitate a successful transition to civilian life.

UW is consistently ranked among the top public universities in the nation and is highly regarded for its academic programs across various disciplines. It offers various undergraduate and graduate programs in business, engineering, computer science, social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, medicine, and more.

The University of Washington is a leading research institution with a strong emphasis on innovation and discovery. It is home to numerous research centers and institutes, and its faculty and students are actively involved in groundbreaking research across diverse fields, including health sciences, technology, environmental studies, social sciences, and arts.

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9. Columbia University

Columbia University is a prestigious military-friendly Ivy League research university in New York City, United States. Founded in 1754, it is one of the country’s oldest and most renowned higher education institutions.

They offer undergraduate and graduate programs across various disciplines, including arts and sciences, engineering, business, law, journalism, public health, social work, and more. The university is known for its academic excellence and rigorous curriculum, attracting top-tier faculty and talented students from around the globe.

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10. Arizona State University

Arizona State University is recognized for its commitment to veterans and active-duty service members. With its Pat Tillman Veterans Center and numerous military-specific scholarships, it provides comprehensive support to military students.

Arizona State University at Skysong is a large public university on an urban campus in Scottsdale, Arizona. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 40,485, and admissions are selective, with an acceptance rate of 73%. The university offers 54 bachelor’s degrees, an average graduation rate of 24%, and a student-faculty ratio of 26:1.

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11. University of South Florida

The University of South Florida boasts the Office of Veterans Success, which offers various resources, including peer mentoring, career counseling, and academic support programs. It is committed to creating a welcoming environment for military students.

The University of South Florida (USF) is a public research university in Tampa, Florida. Established in 1956, USF has become a prominent institution known for its academic excellence, diverse student body, and vibrant campus life.

As a research university, USF emphasizes innovation and discovery. The university is recognized for its cutting-edge research initiatives in biomedical sciences, marine science, sustainability, engineering, and social sciences. Students can collaborate with faculty on impactful research projects and contribute to advancements in their respective fields.

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12. Ohio State University

Ohio State University (OSU) is a public research university located in Columbus, Ohio. Established in 1870, it is one of the largest universities in the United States and is renowned for its academic excellence, diverse student body, and robust research programs.

Whether looking for a top-ranked education, life-changing studies and discoveries, or a meaningful workplace, there’s much more to explore at Ohio State.

Ohio State University provides a welcoming and supportive community for veterans. It offers an Office of Military and Veterans Services, student organizations, and specialized programs to enhance the educational experience of military students.

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13. University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) is a renowned public research university in Berkeley, California. Established in 1868, it is the flagship campus of the University of California system and consistently ranks among the top public universities in the United States.

UC Berkeley is also recognized for its commitment to social justice, environmental sustainability, and civic engagement. The university encourages students to become active and engaged citizens, fostering a sense of responsibility and positively impacting society.

University of California, Berkeley College has a long tradition of commitment to veterans and military students.

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14. University of Virginia

Next on our list of best military-friendly colleges is The University of Virginia. UVA is proud to serve all military-affiliated students, including active duty, veterans, reservists, National Guard members, and dependents, in pursuing their academic and professional goals and maximizing the use of their educational benefits at the University.

The University of Virginia offers a variety of programs to veterans. From bachelor’s to master’s degrees, it strives to create a supportive environment for military students.

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15. University of Michigan

The University of Michigan (UM) is considered military-friendly and supports military-affiliated students. The university recognizes the contributions and sacrifices of military personnel and their families and strives to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for them.

UM offers various resources and services to support military-affiliated students throughout their academic journey. These resources may include dedicated staff members who specialize in assisting veterans, active-duty service members, and their dependents. These staff members can provide guidance and support regarding admissions, financial aid, and academic planning.

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16. University of Colorado Boulder

The University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) is considered military-friendly and supportive of military-affiliated students. The university recognizes the sacrifices and contributions of military personnel and provides resources and services to assist them in their academic pursuits.

A degree from CU Boulder provides students with promising career potential, expands their worldview, influences their social network, and adds to their life experiences.

CU Boulder offers support services for military-affiliated students, including veterans, active-duty service members, and their dependents. The Office of Veteran and Military Affairs (OVMA) is dedicated to helping military-affiliated students navigate the university and provides resources for academic success, financial assistance, and community building. The OVMA can assist with questions about benefits, enrollment, and transition to campus life.

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17. Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana, United States. Founded in 1869, Purdue has grown into one of the leading higher education institutions known for its vital academic programs, cutting-edge research, and commitment to innovation.

Purdue offers undergraduate and graduate programs across various disciplines, including engineering, sciences, business, agriculture, education, liberal arts, and more. The university is particularly renowned for its STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs. It has a strong reputation in aerospace engineering, computer science, industrial engineering, and pharmacy.

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18. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina has a long-standing commitment to veterans. It offers a Veterans Resource Center, career services, and academic support programs to ensure military students thrive.

UNC Chapel Hill is dedicated to advancing knowledge and making meaningful societal contributions. The university houses numerous research centers and institutes focusing on biomedical sciences, public policy, environmental studies, social sciences, and humanities. Students can engage in research projects alongside world-class faculty mentors, gaining valuable hands-on experience and contributing to groundbreaking discoveries.

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19. George Mason University

George Mason University provides various services to assist military students in achieving their academic goals. Its Office of Military Services supports veterans, active-duty service members, and their families.

The university is particularly known for its economics, law, public policy, and computer science programs. GMU’s faculty comprises accomplished scholars and industry professionals dedicated to providing students with quality education and real-world experiences.

GMU is also recognized for its strong connections to the community and commitment to public service. The university fosters a culture of civic engagement and encourages students to make a positive impact through volunteerism, community partnerships, and service-learning initiatives.

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20. University of Arizona

Located in Tucson’s vibrant and sun-soaked city, the University of Arizona (UA) proudly stands as a leading institution that wholeheartedly embraces and supports veterans on their academic journeys. With a longstanding commitment to military service members and their families, UA has earned its place as one of the best military-friendly colleges in the United States.

At UA, veterans are not merely seen as students but as integral members of a tight-knit community that values their unique perspectives, experiences, and sacrifices. The university’s dedicated Office of Veteran and Military Affairs (OVMA) goes above and beyond to ensure a smooth transition from military to civilian life, providing comprehensive resources, services, and programs tailored specifically to meet the needs of veterans.

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21. Florida State University

Nestled in the heart of sunny Tallahassee, Florida State University (FSU) stands tall as an institution that not only cherishes the contributions of veterans but also provides a nurturing environment for their educational pursuits. Renowned for its academic excellence and vibrant campus life, FSU proudly earns its place among the top military-friendly colleges in the United States.

At FSU, veterans are welcomed with open arms and recognized as valuable university community members. The Office of Veterans Affairs at FSU is a dedicated resource center, offering services tailored specifically to military-affiliated students’ needs. From assistance with educational benefits to guidance on academic planning and career development, the office provides comprehensive support at every step.

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22. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is committed to assisting veterans and military personnel. It provides specialized advising, mentorship programs, and initiatives to support military students’ academic success.

In addition to academic support, UIUC understands the financial challenges veterans may face when pursuing higher education. The university actively participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, ensuring that eligible veterans receive additional financial assistance to cover tuition and fees beyond the benefits provided by the Post-9/11 GI Bill®. This commitment to affordability makes education accessible and empowers veterans to focus on their studies and personal growth.

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FAQs On Military-friendly Colleges

What are military-friendly colleges?

Military-friendly colleges are educational institutions that provide a supportive and welcoming environment for military service members, veterans, and their families. These colleges offer various resources, programs, and services to assist military-affiliated students in pursuing higher education.

Are military-friendly colleges only for veterans?

No, military-friendly colleges are not exclusively for veterans. While they do provide significant support for veterans, these colleges also cater to active-duty service members, National Guard members, reservists, and military spouses and dependents. They aim to create an inclusive environment that addresses the unique needs of all military-affiliated individuals.

Do military-friendly colleges offer online programs?

Yes, many military-friendly colleges offer online programs to accommodate the flexible needs of military-affiliated students. Online programs can be particularly beneficial for those serving on active duty or having other responsibilities that make attending traditional classes challenging. These online programs often provide the same support and resources as on-campus programs.

Can military-friendly colleges help with transferring credits from military training?

Many military-friendly colleges have policies to recognize and transfer credits earned through military training and experience.

Conclusion

These top 25 military-friendly colleges in the USA for 2023 exemplify the commitment and dedication of educational institutions to support veterans and military personnel in their pursuit of higher education. These colleges empower military students to excel academically and transition successfully to civilian life by providing specialized resources, support services, and a welcoming environment.

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