Online Colleges for Active Duty Military Members: How to Find

Online colleges are an ideal way for active duty military members to gain postsecondary education. Fortunately there are a number of resources devoted to helping active duty military members fulfill their education by finding online colleges that will work with them.

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There are a variety of resources that active duty military members can use to find online educational opportunities, including government resources and private organizations. There are also many online schools that offer specific benefits for military members.

Finding Military-Friendly Online Colleges

Current members of the U.S. Armed Forces interested in taking online courses or pursuing online degrees can find colleges through online databases provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, individual branches of the military and educational organizations. These databases include information on colleges that partner with the military, provide online degree programs and participate in military-friendly programs. Some of these databases and information resources are detailed below.

Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities provides an online database of Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) ( Numerous colleges and universities are part of the SOC Consortium and agree to offer degree programs with minimal residency requirements, easy transfer of college credits and credit for military experience. SOC colleges and universities offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs to active servicemembers.

Go Army Ed is the official website for the U.S. Army's continuing education services. On this site, members of the U.S. Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserves can search for online degree programs and schools and find out about tuition assistance programs.

Navy College Program Distance Learning Partnership (NCPDLP)

There are 43 educational institutions that partner with the U.S. Navy through the NCPDLP. This partnership allows sailors and other Navy personnel to complete associate and bachelor's degrees via the Internet or other electronic means. A list of partner schools is available on the Navy College Program website (

Community College of the Air Force

The Community College of the Air Force (CCAF), part of Air University, is a regionally-accredited institution for Air Force personnel. Students can earn associate's degrees in five mission-related areas through distance and on-campus courses. Additionally, the Air University Associate-to-Baccalaureate Cooperative is a program that helps members of Air Force find accredited colleges with online programs that accept CCAF transfer credits. Contact the CCAF for a list of partner schools.

Other Resources

Some schools have military education departments staffed by admissions specialists who can help veterans and active duty military members enroll in online education programs. They can also help applicants apply for scholarships, GI Bill benefits, in-state tuition and transfer credits for military experience.

Credit for Military Experience

Military training and experience can often be used to earn college credits. The American Council on Education (ACE) works with the U.S. Department of Defense and postsecondary schools to award college credits to members of the U.S. Armed Forces. On the ACE website (, prospective students can submit their service experience. Upon review by the council, their branch of service will submit an official transcript of military education free of charge to the college or university of their choice.

List of Online Colleges for Active Duty Military Members

Here are some colleges with online offerings that are particularly well-suited to military members:

  • Penn State University waives the application fee for military members.
  • Arizona State University offers an active duty and reservist commitment scholarship.
  • American Military University caps the tuition for military members, offers free textbooks and technology grants and awards credit for some military training.
  • The University of Nebraska - Lincoln provides online programs and a student veteran organization to help with academic success for military and their families.
  • Fort Hays State University offers scholarships for military members and has military-oriented academic programs.
  • Colorado State University's Global Campus offers a 10% tuition discount for active military members.
  • University of North Dakota offers in-state tuition to all active-duty members of the military, regardless of their location.
  • The University of Alabama has a partnership with Go Army Ed.
  • For online programs provided by the University of Maryland, active military members pay reduced tuition rates.
  • Troy University offers military branch-specific academic programs.

For active duty military members who are seeking higher education, there are a variety of programs and organizations that can help them identify online academic opportunities.

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