Online colleges are growing in popularity because of the convenience and oftentimes cheaper tuition they offer. However, not all online schools are good matches for those who are active duty military or veterans. We have compiled a list of 5 colleges offering the most tuition assistance and benefits for military. This list includes both fully online schools and brick-and-mortar schools with robust distance-learning programs.
School Comparison Chart
|School Name||Institution Type||Location||Tuition (2017-2018)*||Tuition Assistance/Military Benefits|
|Excelsior College||4-year, private not-for-profit; Online||Albany, NY||$250 per credit hour for military ($510 per credit hour for non-military)||Discounted tuition|
|American Military University||4-year, private for-profit; Online||Charlestown, WV||$250 per credit hour||Free textbooks, technology fees covered|
|Purdue University Global||4-year, public; Online||Main office: Indianapolis, IN (multiple branches)||$165 per credit hour for the military ($371 per credit hour for non-military)||Credit for experience, tuition assistance|
|Berkeley College||4-year, private for-profit||Main office: Little Falls, NJ (multiple branches)||$825 per credit hour||Tuition assistance, advisors with military experience|
|University of Southern Mississippi||4-year, public||Hattiesburg, MS||$339.59 per credit hour||Tuition assistance|
Source: *School websites
Each of the schools listed below were chosen because they have been nationally recognized by reputable organizations for their excellence in military education and assistance. The courses offered at each school and the tuition costs were also taken into account when compiling this list to ensure that the schools chosen would be a good fit for any military or veteran student.
Excelsior College was recognized by Military Times in 2017 for being one of the best online colleges for veterans. This college offers degrees in the areas of business, health sciences, liberal arts, nursing, public service and technology. Excelsior also offers professional development and non-credit training classes, as well as a special scholarship called the MyCAA Scholarship for military family members. Excelsior's tuition costs are also drastically cut for those in military service, with the cost per credit hour dropping from $510 to $250 for military members, veterans, and military family members. Excelsior has a Center for Military and Veteran Education to assist all online military students in finding the best grants and career placement.
American Military University
American Military University (AMU) was founded by a Marine Corps officer in 1991. The college currently serves over 50,000 military students and prides itself on being military-friendly. AMU offers a tuition grant for not only active military and veterans, but also for military spouses and dependents. Tuition is capped at $250 per credit hour for undergraduate courses and $325 per credit hour for graduate courses. The university also offers free textbooks for all undergraduate students, online classes with flexible scheduling, and technology fees covered by grants. Degree program options at AMU include intelligence studies, cybersecurity, business, public safety and many more. American Military University is part of the American Public University System and has been consistently recognized by U.S. News and World Report for offering some of the best online programs.
Purdue University Global
Purdue University Global is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and boasts 180 online degree programs. This newer university, which began operations in 2017, is part of the Purdue University System. Purdue University's main campus in West Lafayette, IN, was ranked #24 among the best colleges for veterans by U.S. News & World Report in 2018, and Purdue University Global continues that trend of offering numerous services for its online military students. The school offers credit for military experience as well as tuition assistance for active military, veterans, and their family members. Some of the degrees offered at Purdue University Global are fire science and emergency management, nursing, criminal justice, teacher education, business and many others.
Berkeley College is part of the Yellow Ribbon Program, and it was recognized by U.S. News and World Report in the Best Online Programs for Veterans - Bachelor's Level category in 2018. This school offers a Military and Veterans Affairs Office, which provides military students with advisors who have military experience. Berkeley College offers online degree programs in fields such as accounting, business, information technology, legal studies, management, health services and many more.
University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) boasts one of the lowest tuition rates in the nation for online students, with costs around $339.59 per credit hour and additional scholarships and grants available. It has a Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families, which helps students optimize their tuition assistance. USM has been recognized as a Top University in 2015 by Military Advanced Education and in Military Times' rankings of the best online colleges for veterans at #17 in 2018. Degree offerings include programs in applied technology, nursing, business administration, industrial engineering, child and family studies, and more, along with certificate programs.